Employee Led Mutuals “Pathfinder” Programme in Local Government

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2011 Local Government Service Group Conference
25 February 2011

In February the government announced that the London Borough of Newham was one of these pilots, creating a new mutual model of delivery in children’s and young people’s early intervention services. We believe that the timing will inevitably lead to its being used as a mechanism for meeting some of the government cuts to our formula grant. We are concerned that any mutual will therefore be created in haste as a cost cutting excercise, with little or no thought being given to service delivery or staffing implications. As a branch we are unclear about many things associated with this new initiative, including:

1)how such an organisation would lawfully be set up, and the level to which this should include the trade unions?

2)whether this must be done through a tendering process, and if so how?

3)the implications the setting up of such an organisation will have for our members and the service?

We are aware that ours is not the only local government employer taking part in this pilot, and that indeed some were announced last summer. We are asking the Local Government service group urgently to:

a)urgently gather information from the first tranche of local government pilots, seeking any examples of good practice, and circulate their findings to all local government branches;

b)based on this evidence, along with the experience of other local government mutuals (such as Greenwich Leisure) already functioning, produce negotiating guidance for branches. This will include :

i)the TUPE implications of setting up such organisation;

ii)the appropriate trade union involvement in the setting up of mutuals;

iii)ways in which branches can ensure the job security, terms and conditions of our members likely to be transferred to a Mutual are protected.