Tag Archives: Transition Institute

Transition Institute launches mutuals ‘spin-out’ camps

By David Bicknell

The Transition Institute has come up with a good idea: spin out camps. It plans to hold three over the coming months which will feature networking sessions and practical workshops discussing business design, implementing the business plan and service innovation, all delivered by experts in the field.

The scheduled months for the camps are:

  • North West – March 2012
  • North East – May 2012
  • Midlands – July 2012

Visit the Transition Institute website for more details

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Transition Institute’s weekly round-up of mutuals and spin-out stories

By David Bicknell

Here is a link to the Transition Institute’s weekly round-up of mutuals and public sector spin-out stories.

NB The link  on the Transition Institute site to the Public Service article on procurement change and SMEs on 13th January doesn’t work. The link below does, however.

Pace of procurement change frustrates innovative SMEs

A swift round-up of 2012 previews, mutuals and social enterprise stories

By David Bicknell

The Transition Institute has done a good job of rounding up some of the New Year look-ahead pieces around social enterprise, mutuals and what 2012 has in store for local government, health and social care.

You can see the round up here

Some post-Christmas reading on mutuals

By David Bicknell

It’s a few days after the Christmas closedown and time to browse a few sites and catch up on articles written around Christmas but which possibly got missed in the festive rush.

I liked this piece from Dom Potter, director of the Transition Institute  in the latest issue of Ethos magazine.

He argues that the Public Services (Social Value) Bill currently going through Parliament may have a very real impact on those who work with or deliver public services for years to come.

“The Bill aims to reform the commissioning process undertaken by public sector commissioners to consider how they can maximise the ‘social value’ – the social, economic and environmental wellbeing – of local areas through public procurement,” he says. “The changes in the Bill, should they come into full force, will have a profound impact on the commissioning and procurement of public services in the decades ahead. The focus will shift from the bottom-line price or cost of a service towards the overall value of the outcomes delivered.”

Over the Christmas period, I caught some of the marvellous 1951 film version of Scrooge with the incomparable Alastair Sim in the title role. So with a lack of joy, Christmas spirit and misery in mind, I give you the Shadow Civil Society minister Gareth Thomas, who argues  in this piece that the government’s mutuals project is failing.

Bah, Humbug!

Getting the mutuals message across more effectively through knowledge networks

By David Bicknell

Despite all the discussion about mutuals – scarcely a week goes by without a new feature being written in a trade magazine about them – it seems the message has yet to reach some councils. A recent Transition Institute blog recently cited having to give a council director an ‘idiot’s guide’ to mutuals.

The blog made the excellent point that with the financial squeeze on local authorities getting ever tighter,  hard choices are having to be made to maintain public services. It points out that decision makers care about two things: one, maintaining a level of service so that outcomes do not seriously worsen, and two, saving money.

“Supporting staff ownership comes nowhere near these priorities on the agenda, if it features at all. If a staff-owned provider can deliver on both, then great, but a mutual is very unlikely to be given the kind of preferential treatment it needs and deserves to get off the ground if there’s an established voluntary or private sector provider waiting in the wings.”

What will make a difference? The blog suggests that apart from an effective Mutuals Support Programme,  what’s necessary are better knowledge networks than the public sector currently operates which can get over the need for new public service mutuals to have a real impact.

It rightly says: “At the moment we have small-scale, isolated, localised experience: brave pioneers beating a path through dense jungle, feeling like they have to do it all for the very first time, navigating the toughest political landscape imaginable. What we need are networks, a major cross-pollination and peer support effort that goes beyond the vague to the specific and real, and tackles head on the tactics and techniques you need to master to make the case for mutuals, to colleagues and political masters who are unlikely to care all that much.”

Mutuals: meeting the leadership and change management challenge of spinning out

A recent blog post by the Transition Institute discusses the leadership and change management challenges that must be met in spinning out of the public sector.

The post, by Sarah Ashley, argues that there are a number of themes that recur among those spinning out, including a need for leadership, transparency, language and perceptions.

On leadership, she says, “To instigate and complete a successful change, leadership is extremely important. Though change champions can steer change from any layer of an organisation, the project needs to be spearheaded by an ambitious, dedicated and highly motivated individual. This person must be fully committed to change, and will have to confirm, persuade and assure others to support the change.

“Spinning out of the public sector and change management is not an overnight process, but the change does need to be swift. Once the decision to change has been made, the change should move quickly and throughout the transition the leader must be flexible but resolute. ”

You can read the rest of the post here

Public service mutuals: will the optimistic or pessimistic view prevail?

There’s an interesting piece here by the Transition Institute, which has looked ‘back from the future’ from May 2016 at the implementation of public service mutuals, taking either an optimistic or  pessimistic stance. Intriguing idea – worth a read.