"There is an overwhelming imperative – an urgent moral purpose – which drives our desire to reform public services. We want to make opportunity more equal." This is the headline message from David Cameron, Prime Minister and Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister in the Open Public Services White Paper launched in July 2011. This publication sets out the Government’s programme for public services over the next few years.
Mutualisation remains a high priority. The White Paper confirms that the Government is:
- giving public sector staff new rights to form new mutuals and bid to take over the services they deliver, empowering millions of public sector staff to become their own bosses, and
- will take steps to identify and overcome the barriers placed in the way of public sector workers who want to exercise these rights.
The White Paper explains mutualisation will free up the often untapped entrepreneurial and innovative drive of public sector professionals and that ownership and control, through mutualisation, empower employees to innovate and redesign services around service users and communities, driving up quality. The Government will not dictate the precise form of these mutuals; rather, this should be driven by what is best for the users of services and by employees as co-owners of the business. Options include wholly employee-led, multi-stakeholder and mutual joint venture models.
Fieldfisher has been active in advising public bodies on becoming employee owned and other aspects of public sector reform. The Open Public Services website features two of our clients of as case studies: Central Surrey Health Limited and BeOnsite.
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