Public service mutuals are currently defined as organisations that have left the public sector (spun out), continue to deliver public services and have a significant degree of employee ownership, influence or control. Evidence suggests that there are a number of challenges with this definition, and that it may benefit from revision.
The government believes that the contribution that public service mutuals can make to public services can be strengthened by creating a more robust definition and brand identity. The benefits of a clear definition will be:
- To strengthen the integrity of the concept of ‘public service mutuals’. Doing this will give public service commissioners and broader stakeholders increased confidence that mutuals represent the values government wants to see in public service delivery.
- Provide greater clarity for social sector organisations on what the organisational requirements are in order to be considered a public service mutual.
- Raise awareness and understanding of the benefits of the mutuals model, informing decisions about who delivers public services.
In developing these proposals, the government has worked with an independent Mutuals Advisory Group, made up of mutual practitioners, academics, and representatives from relevant industry bodies, as well as representatives from the mutuals sector and local government.
The government welcomes responses to this consultation from all those with an interest in public service delivery, in particular public service commissioners and delivery organisations, staff, users and communities, as well as industry bodies that represent these groups.