The Mayor's response to the report from the Public Accounts Select Committee’s Short Review into Mutualism is here, and the report itself - at least in draft - is here.A council event for staff on June 16 called The New Directions: Mutuals And Co-operative Spin-Outs saw experts speak to 45 employees about the opportunities. The six-month review into which services could be given up was agreed at Lewisham’s mayor and cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
In the SLP article, Alex Feakes says saving cash was a factor in the proposals, but not the main aim. Maybe not for him, but it feels to me to be mainly about getting down the Council's wages bill and 'TUPE' obligations by encouraging staff into new, non-Council organisations. I can't find it now, but in looking through these reports, I think I saw something about there being no evidence that such spun-out services did provide better services to the public - but I may be wrong.
Rather than go this way, Lewisham should just be trying to deliver better value for money as it is - which given that it has to save money, means itself facing up to the need to make poorly performing staff redundant - and not letting it happen via some spun-out entity going belly up, having absorbed a lot of time, energy and possibly personal savings. That way the reputation of social enterprise, mutuals, co-operatives, call them what you will, will be further damaged.
(And anyway, I suspect groups of staff who do take the plunge of setting up a mutual organisation, will tend to be among the better performing.)
It is easy to understand why Lewisham will want to evade grasping these nettles itself - and the Localism Bill, also referred to in the SLP article, with all its central government inspired romancing of 'the community' gives them the perfect excuse.