Cabinet Office backs search for public sector’s best mutual

Published on Monday, 23 September 2013 11:36
Written by Sinead Fynes Black

The department is backing a search for Britain's best public service mutual, as part of an awards programme for mutual and employee-owned organisations.

The Cabinet Office has lent its endorsement to the Philip Baxendale Awards' "Public Service Mutual of the Year" prize to celebrate the most impressive group of former public sector workers who have spun out into an employee-led mutual to provide exemplary public services.

Nominations for the award are now open, and will be judged on the basis of how nominees have transformed their services to improve outcomes for citizens.

Co-hosted by the Employee Ownership Association (EOA) and Baxendale, this year's awards are set to be more competitive than ever before, with more than 70 mutuals now delivering more than a billion pounds worth of public services, and forecasting an average annual growth rate of 10%. Since spinning out, staff feel more engaged and are likely to stay longer with the organisation and miss fewer days of work. In fact, our latest data shows that absenteeism and staff turnover fall 20% and 16% respectively after an organisation has spun out.

The Philip Baxendale Awards are the UK's only dedicated celebration of excellence in employee ownership. They are co-hosted by the Employee Ownership Association and Baxendale, an employee-owned partnership founded by Philip Baxendale who provide advice and investment to support new and existing mutual businesses.

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said:

"Right across the country, public sector staff are taking control of the services they know best because they are fed up with the wasteful bureaucracy imposed on them by the state and know they can do better.

"These mutuals will help to overturn the flat public sector productivity levels seen between 1997 and 2010, by bringing the kind of innovation, energy, and drive to the economy that Britain needs to succeed in the global race.

"We will follow the results of the Baxendale Awards closely. I look forward to seeing more examples of how hard-working public sector mutuals can transform service deliver and improve outcomes."

Baxendale Director Campbell McDonald said:

"This award showcases the explosive potential of passionate individuals creating mutual businesses to deliver exceptional services to the public. Having had their quality celebrated by the best of the employee owned sector and the top of government, the winner of 2013's accolade will definitely be one to watch."

Employee Ownership Association Chief Executive Iain Hasdell said:

"Employee owned businesses contribute around 3% of GDP to the UK economy each year and we firmly believe that this can rise to 10% of UK GDP by 2020. We are delighted to support the Baxendale Awards that celebrate excellence within the employee owned sector. We are proud to host the Awards each year as part of the EOA Annual Conference, the pre-eminent employee ownership event in the UK, and look forward to meeting all of the winners at the conference in November."

At last year's awards the Best Public Service Mutual prize was taken home by City Health Care Partnership CIC who provide health and social care services to more than half a million people in Hull and East Riding. After taking control, employees at City Healthcare realised savings worth £600,000 a year while raising user satisfaction by 7% - a testament to their skill and dedication, and to the potential a mutual model can realise.

City Health Care Partnership CIC Chief Executive Andrew Burnell said:

"Winning the Public Service Mutual award last year was a massive boost for our staff and showed our service users and partners that we really mean business. Combined with my role as a Mutuals Ambassador, it's given us a perfect platform from which to trumpet the cause of employee ownership and the value of social enterprise as the way forward for business and has helped us to be taken seriously as a contender in the marketplace."

The awards will be judged by an esteemed panel of employee ownership experts from across the public and private sectors. Its membership will include:

  • Iain Hasdell – Chief Executive of the Employee Ownership Association
  • David Erdal – former Chair of employee owned paper manufacturers Tullis Russell, author on employee ownership and Independent Trustee at Baxendale
  • Margaret Elliot – Founder and Executive Director of employee owned care provider Sunderland Home Care Associates
  • Alden Whittaker-Brown - Head of the Group Executive Office at Arup
  • Tim Decamp – Head of Mutuals Programme at Cabinet Office
  • Claire Hobson – Deputy Director, Business & Society at Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS)

In addition to Best Public Sector Mutual, 6 other award categories cover the positive outcomes often seen in mutual ownership, including employee engagement, innovation and productivity, and are open to public service and private sector mutuals.

The awards are free to enter and the awards ceremony will take place at a gala dinner on the evening of 12 November, as part of the 2013 Employee Ownership Association Annual Conference at the National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull, West Midlands.

Source: Cabinet Office 

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