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Cabinet Office gives cash to 21 public service co-ops

By Richard Johnstone | 15 February 2013

The government has awarded £1m to help set up 21 employee-owned public sector mutuals, including a council-backed adult social care spinout.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude announced the grants today as part of the government’s Mutuals Support Programme. The cash will pay for professional support and management services.

Among the awards, Oldham Borough Council will receive £46,000 to help set up a staff-owned co-operative to provide adult social care services. The award will allow the authority and employees to undertake business planning and market assessment.

Around £93,000 has also been awarded to staff at Knowsley Youth Services, currently part of Knowsley Council, to produce a business plan to spin out from the authority.

Another local authority, Gloucestershire County Council, will be given £20,000 towards a planned mutual to run adult education services.

Maude said the government was supporting entrepreneurial staff across public services, adding there was evidence that giving people a stake in their business through employee ownership improved productivity and innovation.

‘We know frontline public servants can run their services incredibly effectively as mutual businesses, improving productivity and efficiency. Our Mutuals Support Programme goes a long way to providing entrepreneurial staff with concrete support to realise their goal, whilst increasing opportunities for SMEs to win government business.

‘Momentum is growing – more and more entrepreneurial public servants want to take control of the services they provide, and we will continue to support them.’

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