Mutuals Information Service
The Mutuals Information Service is managed by the Cabinet Office’s mutuals team, which encourages and supports the establishment of public service mutuals.
What is the Mutuals Information Service?
Find out how to start a public service mutual.
The Mutuals Information Service is the online resource of the Cabinet Office Mutuals Support Programme. It provides guidance and information on the mutual model for public sector staff, commissioners and suppliers.
There are now over 100 public service mutuals across England, delivering public services across a wide range of sectors. All public service mutuals can be seen on our interactive map.
Cabinet Office defines a public service mutual as:
- An organisation that has left the public sector (also known as ‘spinning out’);
- Which continues to deliver public services; and,
- Has staff control embedded within the running of the organisation.
What are the benefits of the mutual model?
Public service mutuals realise benefits for frontline staff, commissioners and service users because staff are given a voice in the organisation and how it is run. By freeing employees to deliver and improve their services as they know best, mutuals enable innovation, and because they feel more engaged, staff are likely to stay longer with the organisation and miss fewer days of work.
Public service mutuals are also proving successful at generating new business, expanding into more areas and winning additional contracts, encouraging small business growth in their local communities.
You can find out more about the benefits realised by existing public service mutuals, their staff and service users: public service mutuals
What support is available for me?
Much of our support is focussed on helping public service staff and leaders to explore the mutual model, to decide that it is right for their service and their users, and ultimately to spin-out.
This support is focussed on 4 stages:
- Exploration: support to understand the mutual model, how to find out more information, and how to assess if it may be right for your service.
- Mutuals Success: a 4 day training course to explore the mutual model, including challenges and opportunities, and support in drafting an initial business plan and business case.
- Spin Out Support: expert and bespoke consultancy, legal, and technical support procured by Cabinet Office, which will work with you to transition your service from in house delivery to a public service mutual
- Growth: a 6 day post-spin out programme to help public service mutuals improve their operation as commercial enterprises, focused on business growth, winning new contracts, and investment in new opportunities.
You can find out more information on our training and support page . If you would like support to start a public service mutual you will need to fill out this questionnaire and apply to the Mutuals Information Service. Please check the Eligibility criteria (PDF, 309KB, 3 pages) before you apply.
Mutuals Support Programme: Challenge Prize Results
Earlier this year, we launched the Mutuals Support Programme Challenge Prize to develop new models for the support infrastructure for public service mutuals. Over the last two months, we invited competitors to design and test a transformational model which could really drive growth and sustainability of the public service mutual sector.
The Challenge Prize was always an exercise in open policy-making, and has provided an invaluable opportunity to collaborate with a range of innovators to explore a range of models for future support for the mutuals sector.
We received a strong response at the first stage with a number of radical proposals for supporting the mutuals sector to scale and be more resilient. From these we shortlisted three proposals for the second stage of the competition. Each shortlisted competitor received seed funding to support an intensive period of collaboration and co-design in the run up to the final submission deadline.
Following careful evaluation we were pleased to award the prize jointly to: a partnership led by Albion Group CIC (itself a consortium of three successful public service mutuals: Provide, Your Healthcare and Medway Community Healthcare) with Stepping Out, Hempsons and Social and Sustainable Capital; and a partnership led by Baxendale, Bates Wells Braithwaite London LLP, Social Investment Business and Bridges Ventures.
Although no one design will be commissioned ‘as is’, over the coming months and subject to future spending decisions, all of the best ideas that the Challenge Prize has generated will help inform a wider dialogue about how mutuals support might be structured in the future to help foster thriving, innovative and above all successful public service mutuals.
Follow us on Twitter @mutualsgovuk.