Attleborough firm moves to employee ownership

After 40 years in business, directors at a civil engineering firm have decided to hand the company’s ownership to its employees.  Plandescil, which was launched in 1979, will be adopting a “John Lewis” business model to allow all its employees to become owners of the Company through an Employee Ownership Trust.

Company directors are confident this model will help to ensure the business’s longevity as they look to pass over responsibility for its day-to-day running to staff while managing their exit.  Senior director Sara Riley said: “We are delighted that with the senior directors’ help our new, young directors will be able to carry Plandescil forward with the same values and level of service that we have provided over the past 37 years.”

The majority of Plandescil’s 38 staff, who work at its offices in Attleborough, have been with the company for many years, helping to create a successful family business unit.  Many of the staff have worked their way up from junior positions, taking advantage of the company’s strong belief of training its young talent.

There are currently seven staff undertaking apprenticeship courses and more studying for higher level qualifications.  Several has progressed through an education in civil engineering, through HNCs and Masters Degrees to professional recognition including Incorporated and Chartered status.

Directors believe the company’s success has come through nurturing staff and customer relationships, and it is hoped the new structure will help it to continue in this vein.  Ownership of the company has now moved to the employees, with all shares held in an Employee Ownership Trust and for the benefit of the staff.

Plandescil Ltd joins other larger consulting engineers such as Arup and Mott McDonald in becoming an employee owned company, a structure encouraged by the government.

Deb Oxley, Employee Ownership Association CEO, said: “We would like to congratulate Plandescil on their transition to being an employee owned business.

“This is a perfect example of succession planning where a company has empowered its staff by giving them a real stake in the business and in doing so securing the future of the company, the clients, the products and its brand.”

As part of the succession plan, six new directors have been appointed.

Founder of Plandescil, Roderic Riley, has stepped down from his position as director.  Julian and Simon Riley will continue as senior directors and Sara Riley will also continue in her role as finance director for the foreseeable future.

Three directors have been appointed to the board of trustees with an election to be held in due course to appoint an employee representative.