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‘Public service reform’ goes under the Middlesex University microscope

Middlesex awarded £223k research grant to study ‘mutual spin outs’, a key part of the Government’s public service reform programme.

Middlesex awarded £223k research grant to study ‘mutual spin outs’, a key part of the Government’s public service reform programme

Middlesex University has been awarded a major research grant to study a key part of the Government’s agenda for public service reform. They will  look at ‘mutual spin outs’ - where staff leave the public sector to set up their own staff owned  organisation.  Middlesex experts will examine how innovation occurs and what effect the new organisations have on services and staff. 

Encouraging mutuals is a key feature of the Government’s public service reform agenda, but little is known about the potential new services that may emerge. The results will be presented to Government policy makers in 2013.

Prof Fergus Lyon from Middlesex University who is leading the project said: “This alternative method of delivering vital public services is a significant change for the UK, so it’s important that the process is monitored.  Our findings will allow the Government to understand the ongoing impact of this major policy.”

The comprehensive study will look at how mutuals are working for the people that rely on them.  Researchers will interview people at all levels from directors of organisations, trustees, staff and users.  They will also tap into the views of policy makers, practitioners, trade unions and support providers.  This information will be combined with statistical data on the progress of mutuals and other forms of employee owned organisations.    
Researchers will focus on the health and social care sector and compare recently set up mutuals with similar more established organisations in the leisure sector, a sector which went through major reform in the 1990s.  It will cover a number of regions across the UK to provide a national overview.
The grant for the two year study was awarded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA).

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