Employee Ownership – Seetec’s Future
Seetec is now owned by its employees – find out more about this below:
- Seetec is now 51% owned by an Employee Ownership Trust, set up for the sole benefit of our 2,500 employees.
- Founder, Peter Cooper will retain 29% of the business and is fully committed to the business’s future success.
- The remaining shareholders are an Employee Benefit Trust, which was established in 1990 and owns 18% of the business as well as a 1.5% stake held by the company’s charity, Your Ambition.
- Seetec becomes the 9th largest employee-owned company in the UK by number of employees and quite possibly the largest employee-owned provider of public services in the country.
- The move to employee-ownership fulfils a long-held ambition for Peter to extend employee ownership and participation. Because Seetec was founded to help people to take ownership over their lives it is a logical step for Seetec’s employees to take ownership of the business.
- The evidence shows that employee owners can be more productive, engaged and innovative. Under this structure it is Peter’s hope that we can continue our legacy of growth as a private company and represent an alternative way, which creates profit for social value and rewards each other, comfortable in the knowledge that it is possible to do well by doing good.
An alternative way – doing well by doing good
Seetec was founded to help people to take ownership and responsibility over their lives and so it is a logical step for Seetec’s employees to take on ownership of the business.
Our founding ethos was to empower people and deliver social value, attributes that are hardwired into our culture. When 30 unemployed young people first came to a former primary school in Essex more than 35 years ago to learn computer programming skills from Seetec trainers, our simple aim was to help them to change their lives for the better by giving them the tools to shape their future.
Since then, we have helped hundreds of thousands of people find work, learn new skills, start a career and, more recently through our justice division, turn away from crime.
As Peter Cooper, Seetec’s founder, considered how best to plan for his succession in a way that protects these values, it became increasingly clear to him that the best people to take Seetec forward are its employees. It is they who have the strongest relationships with the people they support, who understand what it takes to deliver life-changing services and who best understand our culture and the importance of our roots in the community.
“I have never been satisfied that a sale to outside investors would protect our record as a force for good, fearing that we would be subsumed into a corporate culture which is not sufficiently focused on doing the right thing for the people who use our services.”
- Peter Cooper
The evidence also shows that employee owners can be more productive, engaged and innovative. Under this structure we believe we can continue our legacy of growth as a private company and represent an alternative way, creating profit for social value and rewarding each other, comfortable in the knowledge that it is possible to do well by doing good.
How will it work?
The majority and controlling stake of Seetec – 51 per cent – is now owned by an Employee Ownership Trust, set up for the sole benefit of our 2,500 employees.
This is a big change to the ownership structure of the business. It’s important that employees – as co-owners - have their say in shaping these structures, which is why we want to engage everyone across the business as we set up an Employee Council to represent employees’ interests.
The Employee Council will include representatives such as frontline probation workers, employment coaches and trainers from across Seetec’s business in the United Kingdom and Ireland so they can influence the future direction of the business.
One employee from the Employee Council will be appointed to the Board of the Employee Ownership Trust.
The move to employee-ownership will be funded primarily with cash within the business, a loan repayable to Peter in 7 years’ time and below commercial rates together with a three-year bank loan for additional working capital purposes. It’s thought that the sale is at a discount of just over 20% of the company’s market value.
There will still be a Group Board in place and the directors will still be responsible for the day-to-day management of the business. However, in an employee ownership structure there are formal processes and structures in place to ensure that there are lines of accountability and influence through employee-owners’ representatives. Employees won’t be able to sell their shares as they benefit as a group rather than individually.
Peter Cooper’s legacy and letter of wishes
Find out more about Peter Cooper’s legacy and letter of wishes by clicking here.
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