The annual Employee Ownership Association (EOA) conference celebrates employee owned business across the UK, and I was pleased to be asked to speak at the conference this year.
The government is committed to supporting the development and growth of public service mutuals. These are organisations which have left the public sector but continue to deliver public services and operate for public benefit, and have a significant degree of employee influence in the way they’re run.
Recognition for great work
Many public service mutuals choose to embed this employee influence through ownership, and become members of the Employee Ownership Association. They’re making a massive difference in the way public services are being delivered, and I was very impressed to see several mutuals winning awards.
Rochdale Boroughwide Housing, a public service mutual which left Rochdale Council to deliver social housing services, won Employee Owned Positive Impact of the Year, and Community Dental Services which operates across seven counties including Bedfordshire, Oxfordshire and Suffolk, won Employee Owned Business of the Year.
Care Plus Group were also highly commended for the innovative way they’re developing their employees, and Provide CIC were runners up for the Employee Owned Business of the Year.
Over the past year, the Mutuals Team in DCMS has been developing a programme of support to help more public service mutual to emerge, and existing ones to grow. The key programmes we’re launching over the next couple of months are:
- Mutuals Support Programme – set to launch in January 2018, this will be our flagship programme for organisations to access professional advice across areas such as legal, financial, business planning, HR and marketing
- Mutuals Partnership Support Programme – this will enable public service mutuals to look into working in partnership with other Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) organisations to grow and develop their service offering
- Mentoring – we recognise that the transition from delivering a public service from within the public sector, to leading an independent organisation, is a challenging one. Therefore, we have set up a mentoring programme to match the leaders of new mutuals with experienced leaders from across the VCSE sector.
- Peer Support Network – to connect organisations which are in the process of developing a public service mutual, so they can share learnings and challenges and support each other through the journey
These support programmes will be underpinned by in depth research into the sector, to help us better understand how the sector is developing, whether our interventions are making a difference, and how we can support mutuals in the future.
I’m very excited about what the next few years will bring, and I hope to see many more mutuals from across all public service areas develop and grow, and continue to reap the benefits we’ve seen emerging from more than 110 mutuals operating so far.
If you would like to know more about any of our programmes, please visit gov.uk or contact the Mutuals Team on firstname.lastname@example.org.