New guide for public sector mutuals
Four of the UK’s foremost experts on employee ownership came together today to launch a practical How To guide for public sector organisations looking to become employee-led mutuals – and it has been immediately welcomed by Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude, newly appointed chair of the Prime Minister’s Mutuals Taskforce Professor Julian Le Grand, and public sector workers currently spinning out.
Written by specialists at Baxi Partnership, OPM, Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP and the Employee Ownership Association, the guide – How to become an employee owned mutual – an action checklist for the public sector - provides a road map for public sector organisations. It covers the steps required for organisations considering adopting a mutual ownership model, and how employees can give their new enterprise the maximum chance of success.
The Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude said: “There is a real enthusiasm and momentum gathering around mutuals from public sector workers, who for so long have been able to see how things could be done better, but have been held back by bureaucracy and haven’t able to do anything about it. I know from visiting many of these organisations how innovative and transformational they can be.”
Under the Government’s ‘right to provide’ plan, employee owned mutuals will enable public sector employees to own and run the services they provide. The model has already seen thousands of health, local government and civil service staff involved in plans for employee-led mutuals which will become independent operating units delivering public services.
The guide was immediately welcomed by several organisations currently in transition to become employee led mutuals. Joanne Hay, Director of Commissioning, Strategy and Performance at Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea said, “It is really useful. I have already followed up some of the references and I know lots of people will find this helpful- especially as it is concise and easy to understand.”
Head of the Department of Innovation at the NHS, Brian Winn agreed, adding: “It’s superb - an invaluable document for organisations such as us at an early stage in the process.”
Baxi Partnership Chief Executive, Peter Stocks said: “There are impossibly tough choices being made right now that will dictate the future of frontline public services for a generation. This guide puts vital practical insight straight into the hands of public service managers to ensure that every new mutual spin out stands a real chance of success.”
EOA executive director Patrick Burns said: “Experience shows that employee owned mutuals need expert help and support from the outset to be successful and sustainable public service providers. This guide offers would-be mutuals the combined expertise of four bodies with unparalleled expertise in employee ownership.”
Graeme Nuttall, employee ownership specialist and partner at law firm Field Fisher Waterhouse, said: “Employee ownership is a versatile business model that has succeeded in a range of sectors and businesses, including the NHS. This guide helps the broader public sector build on these successes.”
Hilary Thompson, OPM’s chief exec, said: “Drawing on wide knowledge and experience, our aim is to help interested public services to navigate the transition and move to sustainable mutuals.”
The guides cites two earlier reports produced in partnership between Baxi Partnership and the Employee Ownership Association. Making Employee Ownership Work benchmarks employee engagement and the strength of employee owned culture at 25 of the most well-established employee owned companies in the UK, including the John Lewis Partnership, Arup and Sunderland Home Care Associates. From Colleagues to Owners is based on 10 case studies and examines how a highly diverse mix of businesses pursued employee ownership as a succession or start up route, from Greenwich Leisure to Parffet’s cash and carry.