Research and analysis

Public Service Mutuals: State of the Sector 2019

Research commissioned by DCMS into the state of the Public Service Mutuals sector over the last 12 months.


Public Service Mutuals: State of the Sector 2019

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.


This report builds on the 2018 publication and is the second of three annual reports commissioned by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and conducted by Social Enterprise UK (SEUK). It provides up to date, comprehensive evidence on the experiences of the public service mutuals (mutuals) sector over the last 12 months. It also makes some recommendations as to how government could further support the sector to sustain and grow.

In summary, the 2019 report finds that mutuals are:

  • Social enterprises – reinvesting profits in their mission
  • Diverse – working across England, across a range of sectors, both large and small - from two staff to thousands – and with more diverse staff teams and leaderships than businesses more widely
  • Engaging staff – with high employee engagement, involvement in decision-making or participation and new and flexible working arrangements
  • Outperforming others and their own expectations – growing their businesses and increasing turnover faster than they expected and surviving at a higher rate than other businesses
  • Developing – winning new contracts, developing new services, and innovating faster than other organisations
  • Productive – increasing productivity faster than public services more widely – by nearly a quarter since 2012 - despite facing additional barriers and working in tougher conditions, and while delivering additional value beyond conventional economic metrics
  • Delivering quality – through more responsive services and beneficiaries or service users actively involved in decision making, rated more highly than other providers, and sometimes winning new contracts on the basis of the social value they deliver

If you have any questions about the report or would like to know more about mutuals, please contact

Published 3 June 2019