Mutual Business Detector from Mutuo

December 2, 2011

Mutuo, a not-for-profit society that supports the creation of new mutual organisations, has published a mutual business detector. The detector is designed to provide an initial indication of whether it will be possible to “spin out” a council service into a new mutual organisation.

The council have been involved in the development of the detector, having piloted the approach with a number of council services. It isn’t intended to provide a definitive answer as to whether a service should spin out, but does provide an indication of where the service does have a fit with a mutual approach and where there are challenges that would need to be overcome.

The test looks at a number of factors related to the service centred around three categories:

  • Suitability
  • Deliverability
  • Scale

The detector is available on the Mutuo website and includes full instructions of what to do. Using the detector shouldn’t take any more than 15 minutes so it really is a quick and simple tool.

Spin Out and Deliver – Social Enterprise London

November 25, 2011

Social Enterprise London (SEL) have published a new guide, Spin Out and Deliver, aimed at public sector workers who are considering setting up as a social enterprise. This short document contains useful information which has been drawn from interview SEL have conducted with people who are currently looking to “spin out” from council ownership to a social enterprise.

This guide forms part of a series of publications from SEL on spinning out, and they continue to conduct research into how public services are changing. Their emerging themes which are outlined in this report include:

  • The importance of leadership for organisations that spin out
  • The challenge of culture change – moving from working in the public sector to a social enterprise
  • The enthusiasm of front-line staff to move to a new model of ownership
  • Confusion over legal models, although the legal structure should fit the business not the other way around
  • Fears around staff transfer
  • The lack of time available to properly plan the development of the organisation
  • The lack of infrastructure support available to emerging spin-out organisations.

This guide also includes information about why establishing a social enterprise to run a public service can be a good idea; being an outstanding social enterprise leader; and steps to get started.

You can download a copy of Spin Out and Deliver, or any other SEL publications, from the SEL website.

Delivering children’s, youth and play services

November 25, 2011

Children’s, youth and play services are becoming some of the first to move to new models of ownership. The message below encouraging people to get involved is publicised across Lambeth over the next couple of weeks. If anyone is interested in being involved there are contact details at the end of the message. You can also find out more details about this project, and the other ‘early adopters’ on the council website.

Lambeth is becoming a cooperative council and is committed to a new way of working. Over the past few months we have been working with a wide range of partners and stakeholders to develop a cooperative approach to service delivery in the following areas:

  • Youth centres
  • Adventure playgrounds
  • Stay and Play One O’clock clubs, and
  • Young and Safe (a project for young people who are at risk of serious youth offending).

This approach will see collaboration between different stakeholders and be defined by:

  • Localism – engagement and involvement of local communities
  • Co–production – so that local communities and stakeholders are involved in deciding what and how services should be delivered
  • Developing cooperative models for service delivery that include mutual’s, lead partner organisations, friends of groups
  • Community commissioning – local people deciding which services should be commissioned to support young people.

If you are interested in becoming involved in the delivery of these services, or working with others to deliver them, please call 020 7926 3778 or email by Friday 9 December 2011.

New £20million Social Action Fund

October 17, 2011

The Social Action Fund is a new grant fund of over £20 million managed by Social Investment Business on behalf of the government.

The fund aims to inspire organisations to create new social action opportunities through people giving what they have, be that their time, their money, or their assets, knowledge and skills.
The Fund aims to support social action in three areas:

1. Social action in the community – projects that will encourage people to come together in their neighbourhoods to support each other

2. Social action inspired by the Olympics and Paralympics – projects that will capitalise on the momentum and enthusiasm generated to by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games to create a legacy of social action.

3. Social action for all ages – projects that motivate people across all generations to get involved in volunteering and charitable giving – from school children and students, to working professionals and those near or of retirement age.

The Social Action Fund is open to applications to fund social action projects in England from civil society organisations, public sector bodies and businesses with a track record of delivering social action programmes. The organisations must have operated for more than 2 years and have a minimum turnover of £100k. Check out the website for more details and the application form.

Timebanking in Lambeth – new fund and workshop

October 13, 2011

NHS Lambeth have just launched a new fund aimed at increasing timebanking activity in Lambeth. Timebanking is one of the incentives that could contribute to the cooperative council, and can be a way of encouraging involvement of residents in running public services.

Timebanking is a form of volunteering which is effective at strengthening communities and social networks. It is being used by the public sector as one way of delivering preventive services that are designed and delivered in partnership with residents.

Timebanking recognises all people as having valuable skills and resources that can contribute to building a stronger community, as well as build up their individual skills. There are several models of delivery, but they all take the same approach: mutuality and reciprocity. Participants ‘deposit’ their time in the bank by giving practical help and support to others and are able to ‘withdraw’ their time when they need something done themselves. Timebanking is considered a key approach to supporting a different social and economic model – where work that does not normally have an economic value is rewarded and appreciated.

There is a Time Bank development workshop on Monday 17th October at YMCA Stockwell, King Georges House, 40 -46 Stockwell Rd, SW9 9ES from 4.30 – 7.00pm where you can find out more about timebanking and this fund. If you are interested in attending, please contact Natalie Sutherland (, 020 3049 4268) to confirm your place. Natalie can also provide the application pack and form with further details on the new fund.

If anyone is looking to try to find ways to involve people in their activities they should consider whether timebanking can support this and to go to the workshop!