Britain's Most Admired Companies 2013: BSI AWARD FOR CONTINUAL EXCELLENCE

The essence of the main Britain's Most Admired Companies is peer review - banks rate other banks, telcos other telcos and insurers other insurers. But it can also be instructive to step back from this vertical approach and take a broader view.

WINNER: John Lewis Partnership

This year this special sponsor's award is based on the BMAC research's free vote, a fascinating coda to the main report, conducted for the first time since 2008.

The free vote is, as the name suggests, unrestricted by sector. Respondents are instead asked to name the company they most admire from across the entire cohort of 247. The free vote thus reflects the degree to which a company's reputation has spread, thanks to consistent effort on its part, beyond its own industry and into the wider business community as a whole.

What better basis for the BSI Award for Continual Excellence 2013? The winner is employee-ownership champion John Lewis Partnership, whose long-term focus on quality of goods, value for money and old-fashioned customer service has earned it the respect not only of fellow retailers but also of UK plc as a whole. Congratulations to John Lewis for another glittering year.

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