As a new report is published that illustrates the positive impact employee-owned businesses have on the economy, the UK’s first large law firm to become employee owned has backed calls for more support to encourage businesses in the south west to follow its lead.

Stephens Scown LLP, which has offices in Exeter, Truro and St Austell, was one of the businesses to give evidence to the Ownership Effect Inquiry. The inquiry heard and examined evidence from over 100 employee owned businesses and their advisors.

The results of the inquiry were published yesterday (June 27) in advance of Employee Ownership Day tomorrow. The inquiry found that employee ownership can deliver a more productive and inclusive economy by improving business productivity due to more motivated employees, creating resilient regional economies and increasing employee engagement.

Baroness Bowles, chair of the Ownership Effect Inquiry, said: “The Panel’s conclusion is clear: there is a significant and valuable dividend to be obtained from creating greater amounts of employee ownership in our economy.”

Stephens Scown, which became employee owned in 2016, is backing calls from the Employee Ownership Association for more support to help businesses become employee owned.

The firm’s managing partner Robert Camp said: “A key finding from the Employee Ownership Inquiry is that employee ownership can help regional economies become more resilient. Two thirds of UK SMEs – 3.4 million businesses – have no succession plan and only 13% of family owned businesses have a robust documented and communicated succession plan.

“This is clearly a significant risk, but is something that employee ownership can help to address, as it is an extremely effective succession solution. That is why we are backing calls from the Employee Ownership Association for more support for the sector.”

Deb Oxley, CEO of the Employee Ownership Association, said: “To increase the ownership dividend to the economy we call on the Government to invest in capacity building for employee ownership, that echoes the successful approach in Scotland, supported by trailblazing regional pilot projects focussed on resilience and succession as well as a national strategy for business ownership.”