Live Support

Mutuals Support Programme (UK).

Mutuals Support Programme UK

About the Mutuals Information Service

The Mutuals Information Service Website is for anyone interested in setting up or finding out more about public service mutuals. Mutualisation gives committed public sector workers the autonomy to do what they do best, providing the freedom to innovate and improve their services.

The Mutuals Information Service Hotline provides professional support to new and developing mutuals so they can overcome the barriers to growth.

A public service mutual is an organisation which has left the public sector (also known as ‘spinning out’) but continues to deliver public services. Mutuals are organisations in which employee control plays a significant role in their operation.

There are many forms of mutual - you might think of major employee-owned businesses like John Lewis or building societies such as Nationwide which are fully or majority owned by their members. But mutuals can also be co-operatives or social enterprises.

For more information, find out How to set up a Mutual or read our selection of inspiring Case Studies.

Public service mutuals

Public service mutuals are playing a vital role in reforming public services. They empower employees to redesign services around the needs of their users and communities, driving innovation and increasing productivity. Already about £1 billion worth of community healthcare services are delivered by public service mutuals, and the number of mutuals and the range of services they deliver are both growing rapidly.

­Cabinet Office defines a public service mutual as an organisation which has spun out of the public sector, continues to deliver public services (under contract) and has a high degree of employee control.

­Cabinet Office is encouraging and supporting the establishment of public service mutuals:

  • There is support available from the Mutual Support Programme, a £10m programme that comprises a website, dedicated telephone hotline and the funds. Please visit the Mutuals Information Service website and follow us on Twitter at @mutualsgovuk for more information.
  • The Government is rolling out new ‘Rights to Provide’ across public services, so that employees can request or bid to take over the services they deliver.
  • The Mutuals Taskforce, chaired by Professor Julian Le Grand, launched its report ‘Public Service Mutuals – the Next Steps’in June 2012. The Report sets out the case for mutuals, the significant progress achieved to date and a set of recommendations for progressing the agenda.
  • The Mutuals Team is taking a particular focus on some specific areas where there is great potential for employees to form public service mutuals - local authority services including adult and children’s social care and social work, fire services and probation services. We would particularly like to hear from anyone – employees, service commissioners or chief executives - interested in setting up mutuals in these service areas or who wants to engage with our work.
  • Cabinet Office committed in its Business Plan for 2012-2015 to “Develop and publish a forward look of emerging public service mutuals across England.” This pipeline includes around 100 established and developing projects, such as the Mutual Pathfinders, that either meet, or are working towards the Cabinet Office’s definition of a public service mutual.

If you are part of an emerging or established public service mutual, are interested in receiving mentoring or in becoming a mentor to a fledgling mutual, or for any other queries, do please get in touch at

How to set up a Mutual?

The following pages are intended to assist anyone who is seeking to set up a public service mutual, helping to turn your vision into a reality.

While each journey will be different, there are a number of common steps. This guide breaks them down into the five stages below. This is not to suggest that they are necessarily distinct or should be approached as a strict sequence – inevitably, you will have to manage multiple tasks and revise your thinking as your organisation develops

This guide is by no means definitive or exhaustive, but will hopefully provide a useful starting point. Moreover, one of the key aims is to signpost all of the additional support that is available.

Deciding to become a Mutual Testing your ideas and getting agreement Making a Mutual Plan Setting up Securing the future

For people interested in spinning out through the Right to Provide,

further information and guidance can also be found here.


Business Planning

Deciding Whether to Lease or Buy Assets

To be able to operate successfully, your business might need to acquire assets or capital equipment. These assets may include office furniture, computer equipment or service equipment.


Business Plan Guidance and Template

It is essential to have a realistic, working business plan when you're starting up a business.

A business plan is a written document that describes a business, its objectives, its strategies, the market it is in and its financial forecasts. It has many functions, from securing external funding to measuring success within your business.

BIS' Guide to Employment Rights on the Transfer of an Undertaking

This 2009 guide sets out the provisions of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006, (commonly known as the TUPE regulations.) It is not a legal document.


Government Actuary's Department - Fair Deal for Staff Pensions

This document produced by the Government Actuary's Department is a broad overview of some of the things to be considered under the Fair Deal for Pensions.

It also contains links to further information and contact email address for more detailed questions.


How to Become an Employee Owned Mutual - an Action Checklist for the Public Sector

This guide aims to provide a "high level ‘roadmap’ for the journey from public to employee ownership", and also features a short glossary of key terms.

This guide has been compiled by a number of bodies:

The Baxi Partnership


Co-operative Business District: 1-4 - A Guided Journey to Discover Your Own Public Service Co-operative Destination

A step by step guide to mutuals created by Co-operatives UK Limited & Mutual Ventures Limited.