Mutuals Interim Support Fund

A grant scheme to support organisations to consider, develop or grow a public service mutual.


Expression of Interest Form MISF Round 3

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The Mutuals Interim Support Fund (MISF) will award grants of up to £25,000 for organisations to purchase professional advice and support to help them consider, develop or grow a public service mutual.

The MISF is now closed, and there will be no further rounds of support under this fund. Please get in touch with the DCMS Mutuals Team on for information on what support is available for public service mutuals.

What can the grants be used for?

Grants must be used to purchase professional advice to help organisations consider, develop or grow a public service mutual. This could include:

  • development of an options appraisal
  • review of existing service provision
  • development of new service specification
  • legal advice on organisational structures and operating models
  • advice on business planning and financial modelling

Organisations will be responsible for procuring contractors that meets their needs for professional advice and assistance. Applicants should adhere to their own processes and standards when undertaking the procurement. It will be the responsibility of the applicant to monitor the performance of their appointed contractors.

Who can apply?

In order to apply, applicants must fulfil the following criteria.

Type of organisation

The applicant must fall into one of the following categories:

  • a public sector team considering spinning out one or more of its services
  • a live public service mutual looking to grow
  • a public service organisation which is considering converting to a public service mutual model


The majority of services must be delivered in England.


Grant funding must be spent and claimed by 31 March 2018.

State Aid

Receipt of a grant from this fund must not breach European Commission de minimis State Aid rules.

European Commission rules prohibit any undertaking from receiving more than €200,000 de minimis aid over any period of 3 fiscal years. Any de minimis aid granted over the €200,000 limit may be subject to repayment with interest.

What is the application process?

Applications will be evaluated against the criteria set out in the expression of interest form by a minimum of 2 officials from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS). A call may be arranged if further information is required to assess an application.

Applicants will not be precluded from applying for any future public service mutuals support, whether they’re successful or not.

All applicants will be asked to complete a short feedback form on the application process.

What happens if you’re successful?

Successful applicants will be asked to sign a grant agreement and provide information on their organisation, including bank details and confirmation that they will not breach European State Aid Rules.

Grants will usually be paid in arrears. Recipients that are not local authorities will be required to provide evidence of expenditure incurred in order to claim their grant funds.

Grant recipients will be expected to provide updates on the progress of their projects. This could include sharing the outputs and lessons from the work they’re undertaking and feedback on the professional support received. This is to inform DCMS’ understanding of what works to support organisations to consider, develop and/or grow a public service mutual.

What should be included in the application?

Clarity on support required

Applicants must have a clear idea of the professional support they need to progress their projects. They should be clear about the activities and outcomes that the work will support within the next 12 months, and the level of funds needed to progress this.

Senior support

Applicants must show they have the support of a senior sponsor within their organisation, for example an executive director or chief executive, to progress their project.


Applicants will need to demonstrate they have identified sufficient internal resources to work with external suppliers who will provide the professional advice and support.

Consideration of other funding avenues

Applicants will need to demonstrate they have explored alternative avenues for funding the professional advice they’re seeking, and outline why these avenues were not available or appropriate.

Match funding

Preference will be given to applicants who can match the funding they’re seeking, or make a substantive contribution towards matching, through financial or in-kind resources.

Scope of services

Applicants must have a clear idea of the services and activities they wish to consider or deliver through a public service mutual model.

Viability of the public service mutual model

Applicants will need to demonstrate that a public service mutual is potentially a suitable and viable model for delivering services, or how this funding will help determine this.

Project progress and timeline

We’ll give preference to those who have already undertaken work towards considering or developing the public service mutual model, and who intend to implement this within the next 12 months.

Internal engagement

We’ll give preference to those who can show they have the support of staff in the service areas concerned in relation to their project.

Business viability

Applicants who have already spun out of the public sector will need to demonstrate that they’re operating a financially viable organisation. Evidence of this could include a copy of financial statements, audited accounts or a statement from an auditor.


What is a public service mutual?

A public service mutual is an organisation which:

  • has spun out (moved out) of the public sector
  • continues to deliver public services
  • enables employees to have a substantial degree of influence and involvement in running the organisation (for example, staff may own shares or have representation on its board)

The public service mutual model encompasses a broad range of employee-led structures, including charities, social enterprises, community interest companies, partnerships, and joint ventures.

Why is the government supporting public service mutuals?

The government believes public service mutuals have an important role to play in public service reform and in creating a more inclusive economy. It sees potential for these organisations to drive more innovative, responsive, efficient and better quality public services, enhancing social outcomes in our communities.

We want to see a more sustainable, scaled up public service mutuals sector over the course of this Parliament.

What is the Mutuals Interim Support Fund (MISF)?

At the beginning of 2017, government piloted the MISF which offered a small number of grants for organisations to consider, develop or grow a public service mutual.

Following the successful take up of these, the government has extended the pilot with a second and third round.

Applicants can apply for a grant of up to £25,000 to enable them to access bespoke, professional advice to consider, develop or grow a public service mutual.

Published 26 June 2017
Last updated 21 August 2017 + show all updates
  1. The third round of the Mutuals Interim Support Fund is now open until Friday 29 September 2017.
  2. The second round of the Mutuals Interim Support Fund is now closed.
  3. First published.