By David Bicknell
An article on the Daily Telegraph website suggests that this week will see the creation of the government’s first public sector mutual spin-out.
MyCSP will be spun out from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and “transformed into an independent mutual that will give staff an unprecedented say in how the business is run and the chance to share in the new company’s profits.”
A 25% stake in MyCSP will be divided between the agency’s 500 staff, with a 40% sold off to a major player in the financial services industry. The company will try to win new business from the public and private sectors.
The Telegraph reports that ministers believe mutualisation will halve MyCSP’s administration costs. Although staff will become members of the private sector, they will retain their public sector pensions.
MyCSP has signed a 10-year contract to administer the civil service pension scheme, which has around 1.5 million members. At the end of this contract, the new mutual will have to compete against other private sector pension adminstators to run the scheme.
Lord Hutton of Furness, a former Labour minister, will be the chairman of the MyCSP. He said he hoped this was the “first of many” mutuals to be spun out of the public sector.
“Creating mutuals are a very exciting way for people on the front line of the public sector to take ownership and responsibility for the services they provide,” said Lord Hutton.
“They get a voice on the board and a share of any profits. I hope this model will lead to better performance and better value for the taxpayer.”
He argued that the old model of public sector monopolies were “not fit for the 21st century”, and added that the greater squeeze on taxpayers’ money ensured that poor performance in the public sector could “no longer be tolerated”.
“There is no such thing as a status quo in the public sector worth defending – we must have a relentless pursuit of excellence,” he said.
“I am a very strong supporter of what this Government is trying to do with public service reform particularly with a view to mutualisation.”
MyCSP’s private sector partner will be the Equiniti Group’s Paymaster business, which will hold a 40 per cent stake, with the government holding 35 per cent and the employees 25 per cent under a model based on the much-quoted John Lewis model of mutual ownership , which rewards employees with profit-related bonus schemes.