Schools Plus is not a conventional commercial organisation, but is a partnership inspired by the John Lewis model. It is governed by a constitution with explicit commitments to our values, to employee ownership, and to ethical business practices. Through these formal commitments we believe that we serve better all stakeholders in our success: schools, customers, suppliers, employees, and the communities where we have the opportunity to work.
All long serving employees, whatever their position in the company, are entitled to acquire a share in Schools Plus, thereby having the opportunity to enjoy the rights – and responsibilities – of ownership. Many of our colleagues already participate in the ownership of this company, and this number is expected to grow over time as more and more employees earn the chance to become employee shareholders.
One of the unique features of our constitution is provision for the role of Speaker. This influential post is held by an existing employee shareholder who is democratically elected by their peers through a secret ballot to represent their interests in the progress of the company. The Speaker sits on the leadership team in order to engage with and influence all major decisions on behalf of the employee shareholders. They have direct access to any employee of the company, and exercise their authority entirely independent of the company’s line management structure.
We proudly acknowledge the extraordinary vision and ideals of John Spedan Lewis, who signed away his personal ownership rights in a growing retail company to allow future generations of employees to take forward his ‘experiment in industrial democracy’.