Co-operatives offer real empowerment, strong ethics and business discipline
As the government launches backing for staff-led mutuals, the arguments for worker-run business are being aired again.
Author: Ed Mayo
Mutuality is not a quick fix. Does the new flavour for co-operatives and mutuals in public services stand a chance of succeeding? As the government launches its support programme for staff-led mutuals, this is a good time to consider this question.
It is true that there has been a swath of work on “social innovation” in recent years, but little of this has touched the way that public services are delivered. Too often such work has been funded out of extra spending, which is not going to happen now; worse, it was too often about change on the margins – such as an array of creative initiatives on public health and living with long-term conditions that today are not so much being cut as brutally murdered.
The core idea of co-operatives is that the people involved in a business are the best people to guide and own it. It is not for everyone.
If you like privatisation and believe in the great mythology of corporate shareholder value, it is not for you.
If you believe that no public service should ever be run as a business, then there is no need to change. (But watch out for the privatisation crew!)
But if the key people involved choose to have a go at running their service in a new way, then there are things they would find quite familiar about co-operative or mutual social enterprise.
Read the full article at: The Guardian PolicyHub