Research and analysis

Partnerships for Better Public Services

A research report into the need, benefits and challenges for Public Service Mutuals to form partnerships as a route to growth and diversification.

Applies to England


Partnerships for Better Public Services

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Public Service Mutuals (Mutuals) are an increasingly important strand of the public service reform agenda. The theoretical rationale behind Mutuals is strong.

  • The model provides staff with an experience that closely resembles being an owner in their own organisations – in many instances it actually offers them a stake of some kind.
  • A strong feeling of ownership results in greater employee engagement in service provision.
  • Employee engagement is in turn associated with higher motivation and job satisfaction, as well as improved user responsiveness, delivery quality and customer satisfaction.

These advantages are much needed during a time when public services face staff shortages, funding constraints and Brexit uncertainty. In practice, as well as having key benefits, Mutuals face a number of systemic challenges that can be managed and mitigated against with the right support. Forming strategic partnerships with other organisations can offer Mutuals new routes to delivering innovative and cost-effective solutions to the public.

This report explores the need to partner, the benefits and challenges, and recommends ways to maximise the potential for partnerships. Off the back of this report, government is supporting a pilot programme to support a small number of Mutuals to form partnerships, and will evaluate the effect of this on their sustainability.

Published 29 May 2018