The first awards from the £10 million Mutual Support Programme have been announced today by Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office. Three promising projects, where entrepreneurial frontline staff are working to take over the services they provide, each have been awarded thousands of pounds towards business and professional services to aid their development.
Mutuals are staff-led organisations run or owned by their employees. Public Service mutuals spin out of the public sector and give their employees a high degree of control over how the organisation is run. Evidence also suggests that employee ownership can boost productivity by up to 19%.
The funding awards provided from the Mutual Support Programme (MSP) are:
£55,852 for 3BM (Three Boroughs mutual) seeking to spin out of Hammersmith and Fulham Council. This potential mutual will focus on providing support services to schools. This money is helping 3BM receive dedicated legal support from Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP on the process of tendering for a Joint Venture Partner.
- **£10,000 for a Youth Services organisation **seeking to spin out of Blackpool Council. The organisation provides local youth services and this money is helping them to plan their business. A new start up SME, Social Purpose Business Partners, has won the contract to deliver business support.
- **£18,927 for Hazlitt Arts Centre **seeking to spin out of Maidstone Council. This group of employees are passionate about what they do and are seeking to spin out into a mutual in order to compete for a contract from the local Council to provide these services. This money is helping them receive support to sharpen their business skills, and Bates Wells and Braithwaite, working with Mutual Ventures, won the contract to deliver the support.
Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office said:
Mutuals can deliver more efficient services for the public - that is why we are ending the binary choice between private and state provision.
We want to see a new wave of mutuals as more organisations benefit from our Mutual Support Programme and more entrepreneurial frontline staff pioneer the way for others.
Fledgling mutuals will get professional expertise and advice that they would otherwise be unable to access. And we will build a valuable knowledge sharing database of what works, as well as what does not, that other upcoming mutuals can draw upon.
Andy Rennison, Assistant Director for School Support Services, 3BM, said:
The process for mutualisation is challenging and the support from the Mutual Support Programme fund has been a tremendous help. I found the application process easy, and I am very happy with the outcomes for us so far.
Our MSP provider, Field Fisher Waterhouse, has provided us with knowledge, clarity, understanding of options and a genuine sense of protection for the mutual. I would commend the MSP to anyone wishing to embark on this challenge.
Mandy Hare, Management team representative, Hazlitt Arts Centre, said:
The Hazlitt Arts Centre in Maidstone is thrilled to be part of the Mutuals Support Programme. BWB and Mutual Ventures have been very hands on and we have already enjoyed several meetings with them as a group and I know that the rest of the team here feel very well assisted by their presence. We are delighted with the support we have received through the fund.
Notes to Editors
The Government is supporting public servants who want to form mutuals with a £10 million Mutuals Support Programme, Mutual Information Service website and dedicated hotline on 0845 5390543.
The Mutual 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.