Another group of employee owned mutuals has been launched to deliver services to schools, youth groups and arts centres. Additional mutuals are expected to be set up to deliver health services as more funding is made available.
The first awards from the £10million Mutual Support Programme have been made to three mutuals. The funding will be used to meet the development costs for business and professional services.
The Open Government White Paper published in 2011 set out a commitment to open public services to competition from a diversity of providers. It is 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. John Lewis, one of Britain’s best known mutuals, continually tops customer satisfaction polls and has half the average staff turnover and sickness absence of the retail sector.
The mutuals will provide services schools in west London, youth services in Blackpool and arts centres in Maidstone. The first mutual for delivering central government services was launched last month. MyCSP Ltd will manage the payment of Civil Service pensions.
The Department of health has announced an investment of £19m over the next year for social enterprises, on top of the £100m already invested over the last five years. The money will be used to support frontline staff to run services that provide what their local population really need. The funding will assist doctors, nurses and other public sector workers to run services that are tailored to their local community.