Start a Public Service Mutual
What is it?
Forming a public sector mutual means that instead of being part of the public sector you would be part of a company or social enterprise, owned by its employees, which would be contracted to deliver services.
People on the ground often know best how to improve the service they deliver, and people work better and are happier when they have a real stake in the job they’re doing. So, if you work in the public sector and want to be your own boss, you’ll have the right to set up a John Lewis-style mutual.
How can I get involved?
Each Government department is putting in place a Right to Provide, giving public sector workers the right to establish employee-led organisations. Different types of mutual will be appropriate for different policy areas, so the process may vary by department. Some Government departments have published specific guidance on forming a mutual – see the Resources section for more information.
The Government wants to give as many public sector workers as possible the right to mutualise. However, there will be some areas of the public sector that are exempt– for example because of operational or security concerns.
Where can I find out more?
- For health professionals: If you work in health and social care, the Right to Provide gives you the right to present a proposal for a staff-led enterprise to your board. See this guide produced by Department of Health for further information: Making Quality Your Business: a guide to the right to provide.
- For local authority workers: The Community Right to Challenge will enable local authority and parish council employees, as well as voluntary and community bodies, to challenge local authorities where they believe they could provide local services differently or better. This right is part of the Localism Bill and we expect it to come into force during 2012.
- General information and advice
- The Employee Ownership Association (EOA), Co-ops UK and Local Partnerships have launched the Mutuals Information Service who can be contacted on on 020 7296 6705 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- EOA have published a guide to setting up a mutual – So You Want to Become a Public Service Mutual?.
- General guidance on mutuals and social enterprises from the Office of Public Management.
- General guidance from Baxi Partnership: How to become an employee-owned mutual: an action checklist for the public sector.