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Public Services – Externalisations of public (and community) services into  independent co-operatives/social enterprises

CMS has assisted groups of employees and groups of employees/service users to establish independent co-operatives/social enterprises. The assistance we provide includes:

  • Options appraisal
  • Feasibility studies
  • Business planning
  • Working with steering groups and staff
  • Legal and technical advice
  • Ownership and governance options

Groups of staff or whole services can benefit from being independent. It can give greater focus, allow greater freedom for staff/the organisation to pursue new strategies and potentially enable the organisation to be more responsive (say to service users).

We have experience of assisting small groups and whole services to externalise both using the worker/employee only model together with a multi-stakeholder model where appropriate.

CMS worked with the staff and other stakeholders of Oldham Leisure Services to effect a successful externalisation into a multi-stakeholder co-operative: Oldham Community Leisure Ltd  CMS consulted on and fashioned the legal structure and worked with the staff to ensure that the Board mix was suitable. Other professionals involved included Wallwork, Nelson and Johnson (Chartered Accountants) and Cobbetts Solicitors. The service currently employs 150 permanent, 150 sessionals and has been trading since 2003. CMS continued to work with OCLL after the start of trading through a Department for Education project and undertook a programme of wholesale culture change (DTI Partnership at Work Fund) together with the Co-operative College.

CMS provided support to Sunshine Care Co-operative through its externalisation from Rochdale MBC and assisted the co-operative through its initial trading period. Sunshine Care now employs 17 people. In conjunction with a Cabinet Office mentor (Laurie Gregory from the Foster Care Co-operative), CMS helped it to secure recognition/accredited body status in Rochdale.

In 2011, CMS worked with The Centre for Public Service Partnerships and Anthony Collins solicitors on creating a new entity to provide Education Services for Birmingham City Council. This involved reviewing the business case (making it more robust) and supporting the development of an internally developed business plan (making it more robust).

CMS advised one of the government’s Pathfinder Mutuals at Newton Rigg College in Cumbria in 2010. Working with KPMG, CMS provided the expert support on mutual structures and developing an employee mutual model for the College. The mutual solution did not progress.


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