Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, shared his thoughts and words of encouragement with leaders of potential new public sector mutual organisations when he visited the first Mutual Success programme at PA's offices in London.
Responding to delegates' questions about Government support for public service spin-outs, which tend to form organisations like charities and social enterprises, Mr Hurd said, "I am not just supportive, but passionate about this agenda".
He chatted to delegates as they prepared their final mutual success challenge - a 'Dragon’s Den' pitch of their business propositions to a panel of PA social investors. He said he recognised many of their concerns in getting public service start-up businesses off the ground.
Mr Hurd spoke of the Government's commitment to support changes in regulations that inhibit start-ups but reminded everyone that the key to success lay in the passion, drive and commitment of new business leaders. He said, "You are business leaders, take the initiative and you will succeed."
The Mutual Success programme is part of a package of support provided by the Cabinet Office to fledgling public service mutuals.
Programme Director Karen Cherrett said, "We designed the course to focus on the practical commercial skills new public service leaders will need. Whilst the outputs are business plans and prospectuses, we focus a lot of energy on developing commercial thinking and leadership using a series of practice sales pitches to help delegates finetune their business ideas and get them across to stakeholders in a clear compelling story. The final 'Dragon's Den' is a great way to test delegate progress and offer rich feedback to enhance the business approach before delegates consider the next stage of support."
Delegates from public service bodies who have attended the programme to date have provided the following feedback:
"Really helpful... Loads to think about... now more equipped to think constructively with the useful frameworks you provided."
"Really enjoyed… fantastic opportunity. Good to reinforce current knowledge and learn new things – received reassurance I am on the right lines re progress so far. Really enjoyed the… approaches."
"Amazing - intense, demanding, stretching yes – a bit scary but very exciting... just what I need to get ready for the future."
To find out more about our work with the Cabinet Office Mutuals Information Service, please contact us now.
The Mutual Support Programme, run by the Cabinet Office, is a programme of support for fledgling mutuals considering taking service delivery out of the public sector. Its website defines the scope of mutual organisations and the eligibility criteria for securing support. It also offers access to good practice, guidance and case studies on organisations already making the journey.
Support is provided through the following layers:
- Triage – initial assessment of readiness which, if found to be at early stage, will signpost to self-help materials and examples of how to start the journey
- One to Many – a four-day development programme for potential public service mutual leaders who would benefit from access to tools and techniques that help them commercialise their initial business plans and get them stakeholder-ready
- One to One – targeted support (procured by the Cabinet Office on behalf of the potential public service mutual, often between £50 and £100k) to help the team establish a shadow structure and become ready to launch the new business.