Maude names new boss to kick start public-sector mutuals

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The Independent Online

The Cabinet Office minister, Francis Maude, will unveil new services tomorrow, including an incubator fund, to help thousands of public-sector workers to take over government services via John Lewis-style mutuals.

Mr Maude has appointed Stephen Kelly, the former boss of Micro Focus, to be the Crown Commercial Representative to head up the creation of the mutuals from existing teams within central government departments. At Micro Focus, Mr Kelly made his name as a successful "turnaround" businessman, helping to grow the company six-fold in less than four years. Mr Kelly, who has also advised government on IT projects, will lead the work to ensure the fledgling mutuals are set up to attract the right commercial partners – and to get funding so they can become successful stand-alone businesses delivering public services.

Mr Maude said: "We know that when employees are given a real stake in their organisations, innovation, customer service and productivity increase."

The Cabinet Office will also establish an enterprise incubator to help civil servants create successful enterprises from within government, allowing employee and management teams to form mutual companies under the Right to Provide, which has already been announced. The teams will be able to access expertise and finance from a private-sector partner in a joint venture.

In another move, Mr Maude is setting up a mutuals programme team to work with government departments to support the new mutuals and to ensure that public services continue.

Potentially, thousands of public-sector employees will be given a significant stakes in these organisations, plus the chance to shape the way services are delivered, and also how they are run and how to reward themselves.