Public service mutuals and their single contracts

By David Bicknell

The Social Enterprise Summit last week carried more words from the wise about the dangers of mutual spin-outs relying on one contract.

“Mutuals need to steer clear of relying on one contract for all their business and income” – that was the warning, apparently, from delegates and speakers at the Guardian’s Social Enterprise Summit.


Maybe I’m missing something, but how many organisations in business are happy relying on one contract for all their business and income? No business – company, sole trader, never mind mutual – is going to rely on one contract. Those mutual spin-outs that have one are out there pushing for more. They know that putting all your eggs in one basket is asking for trouble. The notion that they would rely on one contract is inaccurate. They may have the one for now, because they’ve spun out, but believe me, they’re not complacently relying on it; they’re out there hunting for others. And yes, to accommodate that hunger, contracts and procurement will have to change.

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