Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office, announced today (Wednesday 2 February) that Professor Julian Le Grand, Richard Titmuss Professor of Social Policy at LSE, will lead a new Mutuals Taskforce to drive reform at the centre of government with the prime minister's backing.
The announcement was made during a visit to Swindon with Charlie Mayfield, chairman of John Lewis Partnership, to meet the nurses, physiotherapists, doctors and other professionals planning to form a Big Society mutual to join up adult and social care services in Swindon. The minister also announced a second wave of Mutual Parthfinders including Stockport Further Education College and Blackpool's Nurse-led Therapy Unit.
Professor Julian Le Grand, chairman of the Mutuals Taskforce said: 'I am very pleased that the minister for the Cabinet Office, with the full support of the prime minister and deputy prime minister, has asked me to chair the new Mutuals Taskforce. I have long advocated the development of employee-owned mutuals and professional partnerships as a way of improving public services, and am delighted to be part of the process of driving these exciting ideas further across Whitehall and beyond.'
Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office, said: 'When you take power away from bureaucrats and give it to people on the ground they often come up with better, more efficient ways of doing things, this is the essence of the Big Society agenda. Public sector professionals have been held back by the limitations of top-down control, their commitment to serving people has been ignored in favour of targets and regimented structures.
'Here in Swindon, people at the top of the local authority and local NHS are working together with front line staff to challenge old systems and do a better job for the people they serve. I believe their lead will help inspire public service entrepreneurs to transform public services into a vibrant innovative sector teeming with different models of provider that join up different services and break down the state barriers that hold back front line staff from delivering excellence.
'Already we've had huge interest from front line staff who want to mutualise their services. The new Mutuals Taskforce, led by Professor Julian Le Grand, will inject real momentum this agenda. The Taskforce will work with front line staff who can see how to do things better and to make sure their 'rights to provide' are upheld.
'I'm very grateful to Charlie Mayfield for joining me on this visit. John Lewis Partnership and all the Pathfinder mentors are contributing a great deal to helping us develop better public services for the future.'
Charlie Mayfield, chairman of John Lewis Partnership, said: 'As Britain's largest employee-owned business, we believe that employee ownership has the potential to empower front-line workers to achieve a high level of customer service. To that end we are happy to share our experience with the public sector and help to identify some of the enablers and barriers to success.'
Other experts who will join the Mutuals Taskforce are: Patrick Lewis of John Lewis; Jo Prithcard, Central Surrey Health; Ed Mayo, Coops UK; Patrick Burns, Employee Ownership Association; Peter Marsh, University of Sheffield; and Peter Holbrook, Social Enterprise Coalition.
Professor Julian Le Grand, on 020 7955 7353, email email@example.com or via : Jessica Winterstein, LSE Press and Information Office, 020 7107 5025, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cabinet Office, tel: 020 7276 0393.
For more information on John Lewis Partnership, please contact Neil Spring 020 7592 6296 Neil_Spring@JohnLewis.co.uk
Local Partnerships, the Employee Ownership Association and Co-ops UK offer advice to public sector staff wanting to form a mutual organisation. The Mutuals hotline number is: 020 7296 6705
In November Francis Maude announced the Government's plans to introduce 'rights to provide' enabling service staff to form mutuals and spin out from the state service provider: http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/news/big-society-plans-better-public-services
A video with more detail on support for mutuals can be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDBbglknn9M