Leading Lives Commended for Employee Ownership

Leading Lives Commended for Employee Ownership


Ipswich based Social enterprise, Leading Lives, has been nationally recognised as a champion of the employee ownership business model.


The organisation was one of just three businesses highlighted as highly commended at the recent Philip Baxendale Awards, held as part of the Employee Ownership Association conference in Nottingham this week.  The awards celebrate best practise in employee ownership.  Leading Lives received the commendation in the Employee Engagement Champion category and recognised the individual achievement of Locality Manager, Milly Gaskin in promoting employee ownership throughout the business.


Leading Lives provides social care support for 1,200 people predominantly with learning disabilities across Suffolk and their families, in the home and it the community.  The organisation employs over 500 staff and was created following the decision by Suffolk County Council to externalise services was created following the strategic decision buy Suffolk County Council to externalise service provision


The social enterprise is 100% employee owned with a Board made up entirely of elected staff members, including a number of front line staff.  This effectively places responsibility for the running of the business on those closest to customers and as a result strategic decision making will reflect the best interests of customers and their families. 


Staff have to make a positive choice to become members of the employee owned co-operative and purchase a £1 share in the business once they have undergone a two stage training process.  This helps them understand their responsibilities as members and how they can influence the running of the business.  Staff who are members may stand for election to the Board and vote for their peers.


The award commendation recognises the work of Ms Gaskin in terms of researching the governance model, seeking specialist advice from other employee owned organisations and devising the model for employee ownership used in the business.  She also developed the training programme for staff.


Milly Gaskin, who is a Locality Manager and a past Chair of Leading Lives said: "I am delighted that we have nationally recognised for the model we have developed here in Suffolk.  We believe that employee ownership means staff take more responsibility for the running of the business and this impacts positively on performance - for example our sickness absence has reduced by 58% and staff turnover is reducing all the time as people make a positive commitment to buy into the values of the business.


The judges recognised the outstanding contribution Ms Gaskin has made to embedding a culture of employee ownership and making it a real and powerful concept to staff right across the social enterprise business.  They highlighted her personal drive and determination and the consistency with which membership training has been delivered resulting in high levels of genuine staff engagement.


Leading Lives is an Archant Future 50 business.