Press release

Aspiring mutuals get vital government funding boost

The Cabinet Office's Mutuals Support Programme is helping more than 20 mutuals spin out from the public sector.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Over 20 fledgling mutuals have each received thousands of pounds, from the Mutuals Support Programme, to support their ambition of successfully spinning out from the public sector. Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude has today announced that government has procured £1m worth of professional advice and support for 21 live and developing mutuals.

In doing so, the government is supporting entrepreneurial staff across a diverse range of public services including adult social care, health and youth services. The evidence is clear that giving people a stake in their business improves productivity and innovation.

Rather than providing the money direct to the organisations themselves, these awards are used to provide the professional support they would not otherwise have access to or be able to afford. The advice is then publicly available for all to access through a knowledge-sharing database.

Of the 21 contracts awarded to date, 14 have been successful tenders from small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). An increasing number of bids now include multiple SMEs combining their strengths and expertise to tender for potential contracts.

Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, said:

We know frontline public servants can run their services incredibly effectively as mutual businesses, improving productivity and efficiency. Our Mutuals Support Programme goes a long way to providing entrepreneurial staff with concrete support to realise their goal, whilst increasing opportunities for SMEs to win government business.

Just looking at the huge range of organisations and sectors we are supporting through this programme shows how widely the mutual model can successfully be applied. And momentum is growing - more and more entrepreneurial public servants want to take control of the services they provide, and we will continue to support them.

The funding awards provided from the Mutuals Support Programme (MSP) include:

  • £93,000 for Knowsley Youth Services and Knowsley Youth Rights and Participation Services, which deliver youth services on behalf of Knowsley Council. The support package from Public Service Mutuals with the ‘Co-op’, will assist these two services in developing robust business plans and options appraisal for exploring spinning out from the Council.
  • £45,000 for Spiral Health CIC, a nurse led rehabilitation centre which spun out from Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in April 2012 to become a social enterprise. The funding provided a support package from ‘Make it Happen’, an SME with under 20 employees, to enable Spiral to identify where and how they can expand their business, make savings and win future contracts.
  • £46,000 for Oldham Borough Council who are currently exploring the option of mutualising their adult social care services. This award provides them with support for business planning and market assessment. Mouchel, with SME SCA Group and Turning Point, successfully won the contract to deliver this support.
  • £20,000 worth of support for adult education services at Gloucestershire County Council, who are keen to explore mutualisation as a possible option for service delivery. The support package from Mutual Ventures, an SME, is providing them with business planning advice.

Spiral Health CIC Chief Executive Officer, Tracey Bush, said:

Applying for support from the Mutuals Support Programme was quick and easy, and I’d encourage others interested in spinning out to take advantage of the help and advice available.

Our £45,000 support package has enabled Spiral Health to have real evidence and grounding to start to grow and develop the business – it’s a really exciting time for all the staff involved.

Make it Happen Director, Richard Dickins, said:

We were thrilled to win the contract for Spiral Health as part of the Mutuals Support Programme. We struck up an excellent relationship with the team at Spiral Health CIC and it has been a fantastic opportunity for us to provide business advice to them at a very exciting time in their development. We look forward to following their progress.

Notes to editors

  1. The government is supporting public servants who want to form mutuals with a £10m Mutuals Support Programme, the Mutuals Information Service website and dedicated hotline on 0845 5390543.
  2. The Mutuals Support Programme is helping these organisations to develop by providing the professional expertise and advice that they are unable to access. The money has been used to buy suppliers to deliver the support these fledgling mutuals need, allowing the government to negotiate the best deals, and build a valuable knowledge sharing database. The programme will also allow us to build a strong evidence base of what works and what doesn’t for other upcoming mutuals that are coming through the system.
  3. All future procurement opportunities for the Mutuals Support Programme, together with details of successful awards, are published here
  4. Download a full list of awards to date from the Mutuals Support Programme here (pdf).
Published 14 February 2013