Report says Maude to unveil incubator fund for mutuals

By David Bicknell

According to a report in the Independent yesterday, the Cabinet Office minister, Francis Maude, will today unveil new services, including an incubator fund, to help thousands of public-sector workers take over government services via mutuals.

Maude has reportedly appointed Stephen Kelly, the former head of Micro Focus, to be the Crown Commercial Representative to head up the creation of the mutuals from existing teams within central government departments. Kelly, who has  advised government on IT projects, will lead the work to ensure the  mutuals are set up to attract the right commercial partners – and to  acquire appropriate funding so they can become successful stand-alone businesses delivering public services.

The Cabinet Office is also set to establish an enterprise incubator to help civil servants create successful enterprises from within government, allowing employee and management teams to form mutual companies under the Right to Provide, which has already been announced. The teams will be able to access expertise and finance from a private-sector partner in a joint venture.

The Independent also reported that Maude is setting up a mutuals programme team to work with government departments to support the new mutuals and to ensure that public services continue.

Potentially, thousands of public-sector employees will be given a significant stake in these organisations, plus the chance to shape the way services are delivered, and also how they are run and how to reward themselves.

Maude’s announcement, if it is made today, will keep up the momentum on mutualisation. With no significant announcement in the Budget, and reports that the planned Public Services White Paper had been put back to May, there were some indications that mutualisation progress had slowed down or stalled.

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