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Public Service Mutuals

In the pages below, you can find out more about Public Service Mutuals, and how this government is supporting them.

Public Service Mutuals, which we refer to as Mutuals, across England are changing the way public services are delivered. The government is committed to supporting the development, growth and sustainability of Mutuals throughout England. Watch this short video and click on the links below to find out more about the sector, and what support is available.

public service mutuals

If you’d like to speak to a member of the Mutuals Team, email mutuals@culture.gov.uk and someone will get back to you.

For the latest news and insights into Public Service Mutuals, follow us on the DCMS social media channels.

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Introduction to Public Service Mutuals

Public Service Mutuals are organisations which have left the formal public sector, continue to deliver public services and aim to have a positive social impact, and have a significant degree of employee ownership, influence or control in the way the organisation is run.

Click the link below to find out more.

  1. Introduction to Public Service Mutuals

    • Guidance

Public Service Mutuals in Action

Mutuals across England are changing the way public services are delivered. As independent organisations, they’re able to benefit from less bureaucracy, make faster decisions and respond more quickly to the needs of their customers. Click on the links below to see real life examples of Mutuals making a difference, and search “Public Service Mutual” on the DCMS Blog for the latest updates.

  1. PossAbilities: A public service mutual in adult social care

    • Case study
  2. Realise Futures Community Interest Company (CIC)

    • Case study
  3. Health: Provide

    • Case study
  4. School support services: 3BM

    • Case study
  5. Library and archive services: Explore

    • Case study
  6. Adult social care: Be Independent CIC

    • Case study

Support Available

The government is funding a package of support programmes to support public sector organisations across England to start a Public Service Mutual, and to support existing Mutuals to thrive.

To find out more about the support available now, including how to apply, click on the links below.

  1. Mutuals Support Programme 2

    • Guidance
  2. Mutuals Partnership Support Programme

    • Guidance
  3. Mutuals Mentoring Scheme

    • Guidance

Online Resources

Over the past few years, the government has collected materials which may be useful to those who are considering the mutual model for their services. These are not designed to replace professional support, but may provide a helpful overview to enable you to start thinking about the model.

Please note that some documents are tailored to specific sectors, for example libraries, but there will be insight which is applicable to all service areas.

Research and Evidence

Since leaving the formal public sector, Public Service Mutuals have reported reduced bureaucracy, leading to faster decision making, better quality and more innovative services. There are several studies which have shown the benefits of operating as a mutual, whether that is through direct employee ownership, or other forms of employee involvement and influence. Click on the links below to read more.

  1. Partnerships for Better Public Services

    • Research and analysis
  2. Public Service Mutuals: State of the Sector 2018

    • Research and analysis
  3. Research into the Public Service Mutual Sector - February 2017

    • Research and analysis

Background & Past Support

With public services under more pressure than ever before, the government needs to find new ways of delivering services that meet and exceed the public’s expectations, and provide value for money to the taxpayer. Evidence has demonstrated that the mutual model can be a viable alternative to delivering public services, compared to in house or traditional outsourcing.

The government is committed to an economy that works for all, where employees, customers and communities have a say in the way their public services are delivered. The mutual model empowers employees by ensuring they have a say in the way the organisation is run. Several studies have shown that a more engaged workforce means a happier and more productive workforce. This results in better quality services, more satisfied customers and ultimately better value for money for the taxpayer.

The government has been supporting the development and growth of Public Service Mutuals for the past 7 years. Click the links below to see details on some of the past support programmes for Mutuals.

  1. Mutuals Interim Support Fund

    • Form
  2. Cabinet Office Mutuals Support

    • Guidance
Published 4 August 2014
Last updated 11 April 2018 + show all updates
  1. New research: Public Service Mutuals: State of the Sector 2018
  2. New Mutuals animated video and support pages.
  3. Mutuals Support Programme 2 now open for applications.
  4. Content update and latest information on how the government is supporting Public Service Mutuals.
  5. First published.