News story

Mutuals support programme: 2 years on

2 years after it was set up, the mutuals support programme is celebrating the successes of public service mutuals across the country.

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


A pioneering programme to support public service mutuals is marking its 2 year anniversary by celebrating the staff who have taken on responsibility for delivering public services in the ways they know best. Over the coming week, we will be celebrating the successes of mutuals across the country on social media – follow @cabinetofficeuk on Twitter to see some great examples of mutuals achievements in different parts of the UK.

Frontline staff in an organisation often know how to do things best – especially in the public sector, where staff work directly with service users every day.

As part of the government’s long-term plan to revolutionise the way public services are delivered, the government is supporting more public servants to form mutuals and has put in place new ‘rights to provide’ so that public servants who want to form mutuals can do so. In 2012, we invested £10 million into the mutuals support programme to help mutuals grow and in turn cut waste and save taxpayers’ money. So far the programme has helped 67 mutuals – 16 of which are live and 51 in development – with support and training.

Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said:

Staff are at the forefront of this revolution, and it is their successes and innovations that have led to real, tangible improvements for the public. Having grown from an embryonic, experimental state back in 2010, mutuals have grown into a true success story, offering a genuinely successful alternative that has paid off for staff and service users alike.

Success stories

Achievements of mutuals are wide and varied:

  • 3BM educational partners increased their business by over 25% in their first year as a mutual, whilst reducing prices for most of their school clients – making more money available for schools to spend on other things
  • East Coast Community Healthcare reduced corporate expenditure by nearly £185,000 through efficiency savings and improved sub-contracting — they have invested over £100,000 in mobile IT for more than 350 staff, improving efficiency and flexibility for patients
  • Plymouth Community Healthcare has awarded £50,000 of community grants from their first year’s surplus to develop its community interest aims, and have been awarded extra contracts for the provision of services for more than £2 million
  • Evolve YP has flattened its management structure to make it more responsive: this means that decisions about children’s welfare are made much closer to the child — an emergency duty service has also been introduced for children and young people and their carers
  • Let’s Go Global, the first culture and media mutual, has been able to support advancement of young peoples’ skills in the creative sector, by linking four young people to placements at ITV, providing trainers to the Arts Award programme, and organising seminars to share best practice and innovations

About mutuals

Mutuals are formed by public servants who “spin out” from the public sector and deliver their service under contract. This means the staff can be more responsive to local people’s needs, provide a better service and reduce wasteful red-tape.

Across England, more than 85 mutuals now deliver over £1 billion of public services. Many more are developing in services from health care to education support and youth services.

Published 19 February 2014