Helping public sector mutuals – expertise and innovation

05 March 2014

Frank Curran, our service lead for adult social care and criminal justice has been on the front-line of probation reform. He is currently working with probation mutuals covering more than 25% of England and Wales.

Mutualisation has been a hot topic since 2010. Many public bodies see mutualisation* as an exciting potential alternative to conventional outsourcing or stopping services entirely.

At RedQuadrant, we have been working with two probation trusts in south west England since June 2013, helping them to develop a public service mutual, through a Cabinet Office contract. In January, we won further commissions from the Cabinet Office to help recently established probation mutuals in London and Greater Manchester and Cheshire win business through the government's transforming rehabilitation programme.

These are all complex projects: in each case the public service mutual is partnering with much larger organisations and our role is to act as commercial advisor to ensure that their interests are protected in these relationships.

Mutualisation is not a panacea for the ills of the public sector. It can be technically complex and it is utterly critical that the potential PSM has a viable and well-articulated business proposition. But, done right, public service mutuals can drive innovation and creativity and preserve and develop services of real value to the community.

For more information on mutuals or Transforming Rehabilitation, please contact Frank Curran at or 07515 875381

* There are a variety of definitions of what constitutes a proper mutual. The Cabinet Office defines a public sector mutual as 'an organisation which has left the public sector (also known as ‘spinning out’) but continues to deliver public services. Mutuals are organisations in which employee control plays a significant role in their operation.'