Oliver will demand more town hall mutuals

by Craig Dearden-Phillips 12/05/2015

Oliver Letwin’s appointment as Minister for the Cabinet Office is, I hope, a big boost for the mutuals agenda.

As the new Minister for the Cabinet Office, Oliver Letwin is a Tory-moderniser and, perhaps more than any other figure, he has worked to drive progressive new agendas inside the Conservative Party.

While most people prefer these days not to discuss Big Society, one of the more productive ideas embedded within it was the idea of Public Service Mutuals. This was taken up energetically by Francis Maude, the outgoing Minister, who established 100 mutuals employing 35,000 people running £1bn of public services.

When Maude stepped down, many, including myself, asked whether his mutuals agenda would die a quiet death, despite its clear success.

With the appointment of Letwin, I am sure the mutuals agenda will build on success to date.

Local government really does need to smell the coffee about mutuals. People are often sniffy about them, wrongly so, particularly in the forthcoming financial context.  

Set next to the LATCO model they save money and create change far more quickly. The evidence is there for those that wish to see it.  

Watch out in 2015 and 2016 for a new wave coming as existing mutuals and their backers prepare to put their offers to town halls to take on a range of local services which are otherwise at risk.

Oliver Letwin will, we hope, be in full support as he tries to shape public service reform right across Government.

as published in The MJ -

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