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MPs call for more government help on mutualisation

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An all-party group of MPs has called for prime minister David Cameron and the Cabinet Office to up its game on the public service mutuals programme.

The Employee Ownership All-Party Parliamentary Group said that while the government’s mutuals programme was an important step forward, it was “not yet well understood within central and local government”.

The group’s report, Sharing ownership; the role of employee ownership in public service delivery, calls for stronger support and communication from Whitehall.

Among its recommendations are that the government:

  • Ensures advice and support systems are in place to help employees facing difficulties moving out of public ownership;
  • Capitalises on the Mutual Pathfinders Programme and collates evidence to track progress and outcomes; and
  • Creates safeguards against mutualised public assets being sold off before they have had a chance to show their value.

Group chair Jesse Norman (Con) said evidence from the panel’s inquiry suggested that more work was required to connect would-be mutuals with experts who have genuine experience in an advisory role, and to ensure that the expertise is affordable.

“Mutual and co-owned models offer a hugely exciting long-term opportunity to transform the way in which many of our public services are provided, for the benefit of employees, users and the taxpayer alike,” he said.

“Employee ownership in the public sector is to be encouraged, and in the coming months we on the APPG will pursue our recommendations with government and with other influential bodies to ensure that employee ownership continues to grow.”  

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