The coalition government is continuing the trend established by the previous government for public services that are more open and provided by a more diverse supplier-base.
There are many who believe that the Open Public Services agenda will create huge new opportunities for social enterprises ambitious to enter the public service marketplace, and there may be some truth in this. But in a period when public spending is undergoing the deepest cuts in a generation, we urge some caution. Even when (or if) public purchasing recovers, it is likely that contract values will be reduced and competition for whatever contracts do exist will be fierce.
We think that for most social enterprises a mixed customer-base rather than over-reliance on the public sector is much more sensible.
Simon Lee at Anthony Collins Solicitors has produced a briefing paper on social enterprise and public service reform for us. Anyone — whether social entrepreneur or public sector worker — wanting a quick overview of the government’s “mutuals agenda” will find this useful.
Download our guide to social enterprise and public service reform: Social enterprise and public service reform.
One of the Cabinet Office Mutuals Ambassadors, Eleanor Cappell, is actually based in Birmingham, where she is a senior associate at the Young Foundation. If anyone is considering establishing a Mutual and would like further information and links to further support she is very happy for people to contact her on 07956 317 236 or by email. Send mail to Eleanor Cappell.