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Employee Mutuals

Volume 537: debated on Wednesday 14 December 2011

8. What steps he is taking to encourage employee mutuals to develop and run central Government services. (86427)

As we set out in the “Open Public Services” White Paper, we are committed to an ambitious programme of mutualisation, allowing staff to break free of bureaucracy and to spin out from the public sector. To support that, we have put in place the mutuals support programme, the mentoring of mutuals by groups such as John Lewis, the mutuals task force chaired by Professor Le Grand and the mutuals information service, and we are increasing the “right to provide” scheme.

The Minister for the Cabinet Office expects there to be an extra 1 million workers in organisations taking over the running of public services by 2015. Will he update the House on how many he expects to be doing so by the end of this financial year?

I have certainly not set a target of 1 million, but it is perfectly feasible that 1 million public sector workers will choose to take themselves out of the public sector in order to deliver in employee-led organisations the services that they currently provide. The number is growing, and, although we cannot make it happen, we are going to make it a great deal easier and to support all those groups. The benefits are huge in terms of productivity. Staff absence falls, staff turnover falls and customer satisfaction rises very dramatically, so I hope that we have the hon. Gentleman’s enthusiastic support for this programme of mutualisation.