Co-op sets up mutuals advisory firm for councils

16 May 11
The Co-operative Group has led the launch of a ‘one-stop shop’ to help local government set up mutuals to run services.

By Richard Johnstone

17 May 2011

The Co-operative Group has launched a ‘one-stop shop’ to help local government set up mutuals to run services.

Public Service Mutuals, launched today, is aimed at directors of services in local government and public sector bodies. It will offer practical assistance and examine the potential for mutualised services in six stages.

The move follows theModernising commissioning green paper, published last year, which attempted to provide a level playing field for charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises bidding for public service contracts.

The Co-op, the UK’s biggest mutual organisation, will run the service in conjunction with law firm Cobbetts and consultancy Westminster Bridge.

Peter Marks, chief executive of the Co-operative Group, said: ‘We have heard a great deal from all the mainstream political parties about the co-operative model delivering public sector services but up until now we’ve lacked a one-stop shop where people can get the advice and assistance necessary to turn great ideas into practical solutions. Public Service Mutuals fills that gap

‘We have a purpose beyond profit, with a vision of creating a better society and we believe this new venture will enable us to help communities across the UK deliver important services in an alternative way.’

Earlier this year, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude told Public Finance that he would like to see 1 million – one in six – public sector workers employed in mutuals by 2015.

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