Employment plans for mutuals and social enterprises may face TUPE obligations hurdle

By David Bicknell

What are the employment implications of creating mutuals and social enterprises following the publication of the Open Public Services White Paper?

An article by Asheem Singh of Impetus Trust on the Guardian’s Social Enterprise Network carries these TUPE references which may raise some questions about employment obligations in setting up a mutual or social enterprise.

“We also once worked with an organisation called Speaking Up, who found the requirements of a piece of European legislation called the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations (TUPE), which specifies that public sector staff contracts do not end because their employment structure changes, to be onerous.

“When Speaking Up had won a contract on the basis that they were an innovative, cost effective, nimble social enterprise, they found themselves obliged to take on staff previously from the public sector and both parties found the change in culture difficult. The point is that the change in management process is but one of many puzzles that emerge, as yet unaccounted for, hidden within the government’s plans.”

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