Headlines: April 19th, 2011

The Social Investment Fund has been boosted by an additional £10m to give staff the financial support they need to set up a mutal and bid for contracts for the delivery of services. The Fund has already helped support over 400 social enterprises to establish themselves and compete to provide services.

Developing mutuals to deliver services is part of the policy of opening up public service to a wider range of providers and it is also an important in developing the Big Society values of reconnecting people with the services they provide and use, giving them the ownership and freedom to innovate and make the changes which Whitehall is too remote to lead.

City Healthcare Partnership in Hull is an example of a successful mutual. It provides services to over half a million people and its role includes reducing emergency admissions. Any profits it generates are made available as grants to fund local voluntary projects to improve health and wellbeing.

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude has predicted that by 2015 up to one million current public sector workers, 15 per cent of the existing workforce, will be employee owners and partners in mutuals deliverimg public services. The White Paper ‘Open public services’, which is due to be published next month, is likely to give details about the ways in which mutuals will be developed beyond health and social care.