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Public service mutuals sector to get reinforced government support by cabinet office minister



The Employee Ownership Association’s (EOA) inaugural Public Service Mutuals Conference will be on Wednesday 6th July. Presenting will be Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General.

Targeted at the leaders of businesses currently operating in the social economy, and in particular those with origins in the public sector that have ‘spun out’ and are employee owned, the Public Service Mutuals Conference will deliver insights and advice on how these businesses can grow, diversify and compete.

A model perhaps best recognised in retail giant the John Lewis Partnership, employee ownership is delivering tangible results across all sectors of the economy and, today, more than £1billion of public services in the UK are now provided by employee-owned public spin-outs.

Research consistently demonstrates that employee-owned (EO) businesses outperform their non-EO counterparts in terms of higher levels of profitability, improved business resilience during times of recession, increased productivity brought about by higher levels of engagement, and better employee wellbeing.

There are different models and approaches to establishing an employee ownership structure, including joint ventures between employees, the government and third-party companies, and the model continues to be highly attractive to emerging ‘spinouts’ or mutuals.

Examples of successful and long-standing employee owned public service mutuals include health and social care businesses, City Health Care Partnership, CSH Surrey and Provide.

The conference will provide opportunities for delegates to learn from a wide range of public service providers and a select number of private sector organisations who have developed effective approaches to tendering, marketing, finance and engagement, as well as giving a view of the sector from the commissioner’s perspective.

Deb Oxley, CEO of the EOA, explains:

“The public service mutuals initiative has produced a new wave of businesses with a social purpose, creating a shift in the delivery of public services not previously seen – and the sector has grown rapidly. However, whilst many of these businesses are highly enterprising, some remain vulnerable to larger competitors with stronger balance sheets, more capacity to loss lead, and a lower tendency to invest profits in their employees and the community, and all face the threat of a changing commissioning landscape as the pressure on public finances continues to build.

“The purpose of this Conference was therefore clear; to deliver an event that enables businesses in the social economy, particularly those with origins in the public sector who have embraced employee ownership as part of their structure, to start to develop the necessary skills to help them to grow, diversify and compete.”

Matt Hancock, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, said:

“Public service mutuals have made a tremendous contribution to the reform of public services. It has liberated thousands of front line workers to get on and deliver the quality of services our communities deserve, whilst saving millions of taxpayers money.

“However, there remains much untapped potential. I want this conference to energise those in the sector, building on its already impressive growth, so that we can continue to strive for better public services.”

To find out more about the EOA, please visit:

Twitter: @employeeownership

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