The Ownership Commission

15 December 2009 | News

The economic crisis has shown the fragility of investor owned business, and the importance of the diversity of corporate forms to the British economy. Trust in institutions is at an all time low. At the same time, Government is increasingly interested in how public services can be more accountable to their users, whilst harnessing a stronger culture of employee engagement.

It is the right time to launch a Commission on Ownership to examine the role that ownership plays in our society.

A Commission on Ownership

Modelled on the highly influential ‘Commission on Social Justice’ (1992-1994) the objective is for the Commission on Ownership to produce an authoritative report that establishes a new and clear understanding of the influence that ownership has on the governance of our country.

The key questions for the Commission are:

• Does ownership matter?

• Does ownership affect fairness in Britain?

• What, if anything should Government do about ownership?

A Commission on ownership will look at all of these questions and make recommendations for a better understanding of the Government’s responsibility on ensuring diverse and fair ownership in Britain.

The Commission will examine:

Ownership and public services

Citizen and employee involvement in public services: in particular examining the developing new mutual corporate forms and recommend features of public accountability and staff engagement that could be introduced across the public sector.

Corporate ownership

The Commission will look at the ownership profile of the corporate sector. It could examine whether ownership affects behaviour in the sector. It would explore how ownership affects customer service, staff engagement, risk taking and entrepreneurialism. It would look at how economic diversity affects risk in the UK economy.


The Oxford Centre for Mutual and Employee-owned Business, at Kellogg College Oxford University will run the Commission on Ownership.

• The secretariat will be facilitated through the University and Mutuo.

• The Commission will begin its work in February 2010

• A series of policy and research papers will be commissioned for the Commission on Ownership.

• A series of seminars and events will be hosted by the University to explore aspects of the Commission’s brief.

• Interim papers will be published through the life of the Commission.

• A final report will be produced within 18 months.

Commission Membership

Commissioners will be drawn from academics, business leaders, and policy experts. They will be leaders in their field.

The first Commissioners are:

Independent Chair – Will Hutton
Peter Marks – Group Chief Executive, The Co-operative Group
Professor Jonathan Michie, President Kellogg College, Oxford University
Lady Sylvia Jay – Vice Chair L’Oreal
Ruth Sunderland, Business Editor of Observer
Richard Reeves – Director, Demos
Oliver Nyumbu – Chief Executive, Caret Ltd

Commission Secretary – Peter Hunt, Chief Executive, Mutuo

Funding & Resourcing

Co-operative Financial Services have pledged £100,000 support over the life of the Commission. This will cover the secretariat and facilitation costs.

Additional funding will be sought from the mutual business & other sources.

To find out more, visit the Commission on Ownership website at