Introduction to Public Service Mutuals
The DCMS Mutuals Team encourages and supports the establishment of public service mutuals.
What is a public service mutual?
DCMS defines a public service mutual as:
- An organisation that has left the public sector (also known as ‘spinning out’);
- Which continues to deliver public services; and,
- Has staff control embedded within the running of the organisation.
There are now over 100 public service mutuals across England, delivering public services across a wide range of sectors. Public service mutuals can be seen on our interactive map.
Find out how to start a public service mutual.
Read about the experience of existing public service mutuals in this report - Research into the Public Service Mutuals Sector by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) and case studies.
What are the benefits of the mutual model?
Public service mutuals realise benefits for frontline staff, commissioners and service users because staff are given a voice in the organisation and how it is run. By freeing employees to deliver and improve their services as they know best, mutuals enable innovation, and because they feel more engaged, staff are likely to stay longer with the organisation and miss fewer days of work.
Public service mutuals are also proving successful at generating new business, expanding into more areas and winning additional contracts, encouraging small business growth in their local communities.
You can find out more about the benefits realised by existing public service mutuals, their staff and service users: public service mutuals
What support is available?
The Mutuals Interim Support Fund offers grants of up to £25,000 to organisations looking to consider, develop or grow a public service mutual. The second round has now closed, but a third will be launched in August 2017. Please check back for further details.
If you have any general enquiries or would like to know more about government support for public service mutuals, contact the DCMS Mutuals Team on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mutuals Support Programme: Challenge Prize Results
In 2015 Cabinet Office launched the Mutuals Support Programme Challenge Prize to develop new models for the support infrastructure for public service mutuals. It invited competitors to design and test a transformational model which could really drive growth and sustainability of the public service mutual sector.
The Challenge Prize was always an exercise in open policy-making, and has provided an invaluable opportunity to collaborate with a range of innovators to explore a range of models for future support for the mutuals sector.
It received a strong response at the first stage with a number of radical proposals for supporting the mutuals sector to scale and be more resilient. From these three proposals were selected for the second stage of the competition. Each shortlisted competitor received seed funding to support an intensive period of collaboration and co-design in the run up to the final submission deadline.
Following careful evaluation we were pleased to award the prize jointly to: a partnership led by Albion Group CIC (itself a consortium of three successful public service mutuals: Provide, Your Healthcare and Medway Community Healthcare) with Stepping Out, Hempsons and Social and Sustainable Capital; and a partnership led by Baxendale, Bates Wells Braithwaite London LLP, Social Investment Business and Bridges Ventures.
Although no one design will be commissioned ‘as is’, over the coming months and subject to future spending decisions, all of the best ideas that the Challenge Prize has generated will help inform a wider dialogue about how mutuals support might be structured in the future to help foster thriving, innovative and above all successful public service mutuals.
Follow us on Twitter @mutualsgovuk.
Published: 3 April 2017
Updated: 21 July 2017
- Updated map of live public service mutuals
- Update to support available. The Mutuals Interim Support Fund is now open for applications.
- First published.