Digital consultancy dxw becomes employee-owned

06 October 2021 3 min. read
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Leeds and London based digital consultancy dxw has transitioned to employee-ownership. Dave Mann, Managing Director at dxw, said the business’ leaders feel this is “a logical next step” in its evolution.

“[Employee-ownership] gives the people who work at dxw – our greatest asset – a real stake in the company,” Mann went on. “At a time when SMEs working in the public sector are facing increasing competition from larger and more established players, we think that collective ownership gives us the best possible platform to grow and thrive in the years ahead.”

Employee ownership is the fastest growing form of business ownership in the UK – with companies in multiple sectors working to join famous examples like John Lewis in the practice, or recently, British home entertainment retailer Richer Sounds. In recent years, a number of consulting firms are making moves to take up the structure too. Earlier in the year, for example, Birmingham based change consultancy Curium Solutions published plans to become a majority employee-owned company.

Digital consultancy dxw becomes employee-owned

Now, dxw has become the latest advisory brand to adopt the innovative model. The firm employs approximately 80 people across its Leeds and London offices, together with a network of specialist contractors. The company works with central government departments, local authorities, housing associations, the healthcare sector and charities, with a mission to create public services that improve lives. A release from the firm stated it believes employee-ownership will strengthen it in this work.

The decision to transition to employee ownership was made by founder Harry Metcalfe and dxw’s directors when they considered how best to protect the agency’s values and culture whilst continuing to grow. The move comes as an increasing number of dxw's competitors are being bought up by larger companies or groups. By retaining its own independence, dxw hope to be able to provide an environment for people who are passionate about delivering user-focussed services for the public and third sectors, and creating profit for social value.

Speaking about the transition to employee ownership, Metcalfe said, “We have a long-standing public service ethos, and establishing this ownership structure will allow dxw to retain its independence and integrity. Placing ownership in the hands of a diverse group of people with the right expertise and values-driven commitment will support the company’s future growth and enable it to make more impact for the people and organisations we're here to help. Transferring ownership in this way also gives formal recognition to the collaborative environment dxw has created and the fact that our success is down to the team.”

Looking ahead, the employee trust will be led by a board of trustees, chaired by Metcalfe. It will consist of two external trustees who will bring outside expertise and challenge, and two employee trustees representing the views of staff. The trust will be bound by its establishing documents to hold the company accountable to its mission and values, and to work in the interests of the users of the services it helps to build. To provide continuity, the current leadership team will remain in place and form the new dxw Board.