Cambridge Design Partnership launches employee ownership trust


Technology consultancy organisation Cambridge Design Partnership (CDP) has launched an employee ownership trust.

The Cambridge-based organisation, which employs 120 scientists across the UK and California, has transferred its equity into an employee ownership trust. This was in part financed by a loan from Barclays, which was completed last week.

CDP decided to become employee-owned in order to give all staff the opportunity to share in the organisation’s profits, as well as to enable the business to be more flexible when planning future expansions. CDP also sought to reinforce its status as a key local employer in Cambridge, and foster the skills of locally-trained engineers, digital experts and designers.

CDP wants to use the employee ownership trust to reap dividends for employees, the organisation and the wider economy.

As part of the organisation’s new structure, CDP’s 10 partners will continue to manage the firm. Employees will be able to contribute to business-related decisions through an elected employee committee. A committee member will be invited to attend every monthly management meeting to encourage employee responsibility and involvement.

International law firm Fieldfisher advised CDP on the employee ownership trust process.

Mike Beadman, founding partner at CDP, said: “As a technology consultancy business, CDP recognised that people were the real value in the [organisation] and the key to future growth, so transferring ownership to the employees was the most logical progression.

“For the clients of CDP, [employee ownership] demonstrates the commitment of the [organisation] to independence and the long-term relationships that fuel their success. The team at Fieldfisher have provided unbiased, well-considered advice from the outset and have listened to, and incorporated, all of our concerns and requirements to structure the [employee ownership trust] such that CDP can continue to build its reputation and success.

“We are now looking forward to the next phase of growth where we can take on even more challenging developments for our clients.”