Ownership at Work is an independent charitable think tank working to increase awareness and knowledge of employee ownership in the UK, and research partner to the Employee Ownership Association.

Our mission

To promote employee ownership and employee engagement as an economic and social enabler.

What we do

Ownership at Work aims to be a leading thinker and contributor in the national policy debate, conducting and publishing research, guidance and information as a think tank for the employee owned sector.

We pursue three key strands of work:

• Policy papers on live business or economic issues where employee ownership has a direct relevance.
• Guidance on employee ownership, in partnership with business organisations, to build awareness of employee ownership as a business succession and ownership model.
• Longer term research into how employee ownership can work for the benefit of the UK economy.


Contact us

In November 2020, Ownership at Work appointed its first interim Chief Executive Campbell McDonald:

“Employee ownership is founded on effective collaboration and partnership working. Ownership at Work exists to drive forward research, guidance and innovative thinking to support this incredibly fair and effective way of doing business. I welcome interest from companies, charitable bodies, academic institutions and any other individuals or organisations who want to learn more and potentially become our partners.”

Reach Campbell at

Redesigning Work - Employee Owners Speak

This paper sets out, in employees’ own words, how an ownership culture can enhance that relationship to create businesses more adaptable, sustainable and with the potential to be more resilient and profitable in the longer term. The ongoing success of employee-owned enterprises presents valuable insight for all businesses, whether employee owned or not, on engagement and communication, roles and responsibilities and how providing employees with a greater share and a greater say could evolve to the benefit of all in the future. more

Equity for all - How a simple trust can spread ownership and wealth to millions

This paper is a radical plan to encourage more companies to give employees a stake in the business in which they work that could create 1.5 million employee owners by 2030 and the biggest share out of wealth in a generation. more

Capital Partners - Why it's time for finance and employee ownership to talk

This paper highlights a huge missed opportunity for the UK's financial institutions. It explores why so many employee owned firms say they can't access the right finance - despite ticking all the right boxes for lending and investment. more

Redesigning the CEO - how employee ownership changes the art of leadership

This report investigates how employee ownership changes the art of leadership. Authored by eminent business and management writer, Stefan Stern, the paper is based on a series of interviews with the leaders of ten employee owned businesses. more

A Partnership Fund For Jobs - How government can help small business cope with the crisis

This report calls on the Government to implement plans that would let employees turn part of their pay into shares in the business where they work, with Government matching that sum via the British Business Bank. The scheme could save thousands of furloughed jobs in small businesses and turn employees into shareholders more

The Ownership Dividend

Initially, Ownership at Work aims to build on the report The Ownership Dividend – the economic case for employee ownership which published in June 2018 and features the evidence, findings and recommendations of the year-long Ownership Effect Inquiry.

Led by the EOA, in partnership with John Lewis Partnership, The eaga Trust and the academic support of CASS Business School and Manchester Business School, the inquiry was one of the most comprehensive studies of employee ownership in the UK.

More than 100 employee owned businesses (EOBs) and those who advise them gave evidence to an independent business-led panel of representatives from Britain’s leading business and professional organisations at seven hearings across the UK.



Ann Tyler

Ann Tyler is Chair of Ownership at Work. A Cambridge graduate and qualified solicitor, she has over 30 years’ experience of legal and policy advice, and consulting work, in the field of employee ownership. She advised on employee ownership schemes in a wide variety or public and private companies, setting up the first ESOP in the UK, in Roadchef Limited.

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    She implemented employee trusts on privatisation of the bus, air, electricity and coal industries, and worked with a number of trades unions as well as the trade union owned bank, Unity Trust. She was a founder member of Capital Strategies Limited and a Trustee of the Baxi Partnership Trust for 10 years to 2010. From 2001 – 2013 acted as Executive Director and Company Secretary of the Employee Ownership Association, during its transition from a small lobbying group to successful membership organisation. She took a private members’ bill through Parliament in 2002 to improve the tax regime for employee ownership and set up the APPG on Employee Ownership.

    Recently, she has contributed to the Nuttall Review, sat on the BIS Stakeholder Advisory Group, led a working group on the proposed establishment of a new Institute for Mutual and Employee Owned Business, organised the first Robert Oakeshott Memorial Lecture delivered by Sir Nick Clegg when he was deputy Prime Minister, reviewed the Labour Party’s policy on Employee Ownership as part of the Hunt Review on Mutuals and organised a UK employee ownership study tour for a group of lawyers and politicians from the Basque Country. She advised Grant Thornton on their ‘Shared Enterprise’ scheme, was employee ownership consultant with Lewis Silkin LLP, and is currently an associate of Mutuo and a trustee of Voice at Be Caring.


Board members


Clayton Hirst 

Clayton Hirst is a corporate affairs specialist, with 25 years’ experience working in policy, communications and public affairs. He headed corporate affairs at John Lewis Partnership through a period of extraordinary change with Britain leaving the EU and the COVID-19 crisis.

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    Before that he was Director of External Communications at Virgin Media and Director of Communications at the regulator Ofcom during a period of digital disruption. Clayton spent the early part of his career as a journalist, latterly Deputy Business Editor at the Independent on Sunday, reporting on a range of world business and economic events, including 9/11.


Deb Oxley OBE

Deb Oxley OBE is the CEO of the Employee Ownership Association (EOA), the UKs leading voice on employee ownership, representing a sector that contributes between £30-40bn a year to UK GDP as well as a membership organisation for UK businesses of private or public sector origin, that are wholly or partially owned by their employees.

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    Deb has over 30 year’s business experience across private and public sectors and latterly after founding and running her own small business for 10 years, joined the EOA in 2012, becoming Chief Executive in 2015. Having recently led a national inquiry into the economic and social effects of employee ownership, Deb is now leading a programme of work to realise the recommendations of the inquiry findings, the Ownership Dividend.

    As part of her role at the EOA, Deb also chairs the Employee Ownership Sector Group, is a member of the Government Mutuals Advisory Group, a Commissioner on the Grant Thornton Vibrant Economy and a member of the Managing Partners Forum (MPF).

    In 2018 Deb was awarded an OBE for her services to employee ownership and social enterprise.


Jo Pritchard MBE

In 2006 Jo was instrumental in establishing the first social enterprise to come out of the NHS in England; she led CSH Surrey for eleven years tripling its size. This paved the way for a national strategy encouraging the development of social businesses and employee ownership. In 2011 Jo was invited by the then Secretary of State for the Cabinet Office to join the Mutuals’ Taskforce to create opportunities for employee ownership within the public sector.

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    Appointed as a Commissioner on the Prime Minister’s Nursing and Midwifery Commission in 2010, the following year she was awarded an MBE for services to social enterprise. In 2017 Jo was honoured with the Employee Ownership Association’s Philip Baxendale Fellowship award and was made an Honorary Fellow of Social Enterprise UK.

    Jo is an independent consultant with a particular interest in supporting employee owned health and social care social enterprises. She is an Honorary Professor at the University of Surrey.


Malcolm Lynch

Malcolm is a partner at Wrigleys and head of the Charity and Social Economy Team. He is a charity commercial lawyer and was an executive committee member of the Charity Law Association until June 2013.

He qualified in 1983 and has been advising on the legal, trust and tax aspects of employee ownership since 1987.

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    Malcolm advises a wide range of local, national and international charities on charity law and relations with the Charity Commission, charity trading, commercial contracts, public procurement, legal structures, social investment, social enterprise, mergers and governance. He is known for his lateral thinking and innovative approach to clients’ problems.

    He is recognised by the National Legal Directories, Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, as an expert in Charity Law.  He is a trustee of Leeds Youth Opera and Chairman of Business and Enterprise Finance Limited.

Senior fellow


Patrick Burns

Patrick Burns is a board member of the Employee Ownership Association and was its chief executive from 2004-11, transforming it from a campaign group into the acknowledged voice of the UK’s £30 billion employee ownership sector. Patrick’s role with EOI is supported by social investor the eaga Trust, principal sponsor of EOA’s year-long business led Ownership Effect Inquiry which culminated in publication of the Ownership Dividend report in June 2018.

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    Patrick is a winner of the Philip Baxendale Fellowship Award for outstanding contribution to the growth of employee ownership in the UK. He chairs the Trust Board of financial planners Paradigm Norton; recent roles have included board membership of the eaga Trust, chairing the shareholder council of employee owned Be Caring, and advising public sector bodies as director of mutuals development with Prospects Group from 2012-17, including acting as one of the Coalition Government’s mutuals ambassadors. He has previously held roles as policy director of The Work Foundation think tank, as a management journalist and an economic adviser with the TUC. He is a Visiting Fellow of the University of Kingston Business School.


Ownership at Work – Advisory Board

Ownership at Work is supported by Advisory Board of eminent individuals who will offer the think tank their perspective and ideas on the confluence of business and ownership. Read more>