Peter Couchman is the Chief Executive of the Plunkett Foundation.

The Plunkett Foundation is the organisation which promotes and supports co-operative and social enterprises in rural communities both in the UK and internationally. It provides support, networks and knowledge which offers practical solutions for rural communities that helps to create thriving places where people live and work now and in the future.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Three tests for mutualisation

With all the main parties open to mutualising public services, one of the challenges in the near future could be to decide which services are best for mutualisation. From a Plunkett perspective, our experience suggests that there are three tests that should be applied to create a shortlist. These are:

1) Is there a clear problem to be solved by the mutual? The public and politicians like mutuals that solve problems. Village shops, pubs, football clubs etc have all shown that it is easy to grasp what the problem they are solving is.

2) Is there public support for solving this problem? The test is whether the area to be mutualised is something that the average person will see the logic and benefit of.

3) Is the model simple to understand? The solution needs to be one that it is clear to all how it will operate and why.

Once these three tests have created a shortlist, there are a whole range of other factors that will come into play to ensure that long term sustainable businesses are created. But any incoming Government would be wise to look at the big picture first.

1 comment:

  1. Can't you make a case for mutualising a service even if there isn't an apparent problem?