Headlines: December 6th, 2011

A Mutuals Information Service has been launched to give public sector workers information about mutual models and signpost to help them set up mutuals to deliver public services. It is funded by the Cabinet Office.

The service will deliver specialist advice and support to mutual organisations spinning out of the public sector. It will promote understanding of the co-operative model to ensure that any new public sector mutuals are sustainable enterprises based on co-operative values and principles.

The consortium providing the service includes Co-operatives UK, PA Consulting Group, Employee Ownership Association, Social Enterprise UK, Baxi Partnership and the Office for Public Management.

Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, said: “We’re pleased to see that this service has been set up. Setting up a mutual organisation is a very hopeful but daunting prospect for many public sector workers, who are going to need high quality information, advice and support through the whole process. The experienced consortium behind this service are acutely aware that the need for this support has never been higher.”

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 delivering public services. Encouraging the set up of mutuals was a feature of the Open Government white paper published in the summer.