Better healthcare together

CSH Surrey’s unique co-ownership model has delivered higher levels of engagement, motivation, productivity and loyalty than other business models. Its annual co-owner survey results outstrip its NHS counterparts in almost every aspect, from ethos to effort. Through its co-ownership model, CSH Surrey is able to deliver higher quality healthcare through highly engaged employees who are more motivated to lead the way and continually improve services. 

What is co-ownership? 

CSH Surrey is owned by its employees, who are called ‘co-owners’, in a model similar to the John Lewis Partnership (except CSH Surrey’s co-owners don’t benefit from dividends). Its co-ownership model has a legal and a cultural basis, and is written into CSH Surrey’s Articles of Association. CSH Surrey was the first co-owned co-owned organisation of its kind to be created out of the NHS in 2006. Then, a pioneering group of more than 650 nurses and therapists chose to set up their own business, believing they could deliver higher quality healthcare independently. 

Culturally, co-ownership with CSH Surrey means respecting and treating colleagues as equal owners of the business, whatever their job role. Co-owners do this through listening and responding, involving each other and sharing information openly and honestly. CSH Surrey also has an active employee ‘council’ called The Voice, whose co-owner elected representatives ensure co-owners’ voices are heard at Board level. Their role is to challenge and question CSH Surrey’s strategy and performance on behalf of their constituents, ensuring CSH Surrey continues to operate in the best interests of patients, co-owners and the organisation. 

CSH Surrey’s shares are held by four co-owner Guardian Shareholders, whose primary roles are to vote on behalf of their fellow co-owners at Annual General Meetings. They are accountable to CSH Surrey’s Guardian Trust, a group of six Trustee Directors who ensure the Guardian Shareholders act in the best interests of patients, co-owners and CSH Surrey. The Trustee Directors include Sir Charlie Mayfield (left), Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, and Graeme Nuttall (right), employee ownership legal specialist, Partner at law firm Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP and author of the 'Nuttall Review'. 

The evidence for the benefit of ownership in public services is increasingly documented and has been the subject of research by The Nuffield Trust* and the Employee Ownership Association*. 

CSH Surrey’s experience has influenced Government thinking around the delivery of public sector services. In 2011 CSH Surrey’s Managing Director Jo Pritchard was invited to join the Government’s Mutuals Taskforce to help develop its mutuals policy. Since then, thousands of public sector workers have chosen to follow CSH Surrey’s example, setting up their own, independently owned mutuals. 

CSH Surrey is a member of the Employee Ownership Association.


* Leadbeater (2008), 'Innovation Included: Why Co-owned Businesses are good for Public Services', Employee Ownership Association

* Ellins & Ham (2009), 'NHS Mutual: Engaging Staff and Aligning Incentives to Achieve Higher Levels of Performance', The Nuffield Trust.