ESPC's chairman comments on its decision to transfer membership to its member firms

Since its creation in 1971, the parents of the Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre company have been the WS (the Society of Writers to Her Majesty’s Signet) and the SSC (the Society of Solicitors in the Supreme Courts). However, 42 years on and following 18 months of preparatory work, the time has arrived for ESPC to leave the parental home and stand on its own two feet. And it is doing that to develop an even closer and stronger relationship with the solicitor estate agents of Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife.

The WS and SSC have played a very important role in the development of ESPC. It was their guaranteeing of ESPC’s first ever lease that enabled the original showroom on George Street to open.

It was their confidence in a concept, the solicitors property centre, that has enabled the solicitors of east central Scotland to maintain their place at the heart of the property buying and selling process. The WS and SSC were making a long term commitment at a time when the idea of solicitor property centres was very much in the early stages.

As part of the original arrangements, the WS and SSC have been responsible for the appointment of the directors of ESPC to carry out the objects of the company – to support solicitor estate agents in the sale and letting of residential property. It is these representatives who have been guiding ESPC over the decades.

Member involvement

Like all businesses, there have been times when the direction of the business has been very successful (such as creating the weekly listings paper or being at the forefront of establishing an online presence), others less so, and yet others which we shall leave as nameless and look upon as a learning opportunity.

One such example was following the credit crunch and the subsequent financial difficulties faced by ESPC. What became clear from discussions with the solicitor estate agents of east central Scotland was their desire to have a greater involvement, say and insight into the running of ESPC. This is something that has been embraced by the management of ESPC.

To our membership, the foundation of ESPC, the business has become much more open and transparent. The level of communication is far greater and I am pleased to report that there have even been occasional accusations of too much information.

It was felt with the feedback from the membership and the fact that ESPC is in its most financially healthy position ever, that the time was right for ESPC to take the next step and to leave the ownership of the WS and SSC, by placing itself in the hands of the membership.

The members will take on the role of the WS and SSC by each providing a £1 guarantee and voting on who the new directors of the company will be.

For homeowners this change will mean absolutely nothing in terms of the service they receive from ESPC. However they will be safe in the knowledge that this is a financially stable and viable company championing the buying, selling and letting of local property.

In the spirit of our founding partners, ESPC Ltd will continue to reinvest all profits made back into the company to continue to deliver the best property marketing service available.

The Author
Robin Stimpson, chairman, ESPC  
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