ARROWFIELD Veterinary Practice has become the first practice in England and Wales to move into employee ownership.

The whole employee team at the Kington Arrowfield branch, Herefordshire, celebrated becoming owners of their practice at the official launch of the venture on March 1.

Following the business model made famous by the John Lewis Partnership, vets Paul Buckingham and Wendy Phillips led the buying out of the practice from John Dennis as part of his retirement planning on behalf of the whole staff team.

“Against a backdrop of small, independent veterinary businesses being bought up by larger corporates, we wanted to create something different for Arrowfield,” Mr Buckhingham said.

“We settled on the employee ownership trust model because it means our vets, nurses, office and support teams own the business together and have a say in how its run, as well as a stake in its long-term success. We all have an interest in delivering the very best veterinary service for our community.”

Co-director Ms Phillips added: “For us, employee ownership means a shared responsibility and commitment to the animals entrusted to our care and to the service we provide for our clients, both owners and farm businesses alike; ‘healthy animals and happy clients’.”

The newly launched practice branches in Kington and Presteigne were helped in its transition by European law firm, Field Fisher Waterhouse.

Partner Graeme Nuttall, head of the employee and mutual ownership team at FFW, said: “The employee ownership model works well across all sectors and sizes of business, and we are pleased to see this new champion of employee ownership promoting the idea for vets.

As the UK Government gets ready to introduce tax exemptions for employee ownership trusts, it is great to see the staff choosing this model. This employee ownership trust has very much hit the ground running by acquiring an existing business and ensuring an orderly transition.”

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