News and Comment

“Mutual and co-operative approaches to delivering local services” report published

Thursday 6 December 2012

OPM was very pleased to contribute to the CLG Committee’s “Mutual and cooperative approaches to delivering local services” report, published today.

The report outlines findings into the progress and development of employee owned cooperatives that can help to deliver local services.

We found the committee’s recommendations to transform the “shape, responsiveness and quality of local service delivery” both thorough and useful.

We particularly see the case for improving co-ordination between the Government Mutuals Support programme, the Department for Communities and Local Government, and the Local Government Association to better facilitate evidence gathering and dissemination around the operation of mutuals and co-operatives in delivering local services.  Councils we are working with are active in seeking experiences from elsewhere and in sharing their own learning.

Our experience also confirms the report’s good-thinking in ensuring that authorities should use their commissioning and oversight processes to prevent service fragmentation and protect local public assets.

Furthermore, we agree with the acknowledgement that the Cabinet Office programme to promote the use of employee owned mutuals could be more closely linked to localism reforms and we know several councils who are trying to do that.

As part of our written evidence submitted for the report, OPM stated: “The potential benefits of staff-led mutuals are about innovation and productivity, relationships with service users or community stakeholders, and social responsibility…As such new mutuals need to be able to build their independence and their own business development capability…We should all be in this for the long term”.