Public service mutuals: partnerships, collaboration and service-user outcomes

Richard Hazenberg, Kelly Hall

Research output: Contribution to ConferencePaper


The provision of public services in England has undergone numerous reforms and a process of marketisation over the last few decades. This marketisation of public services has been led by a desire to create more cost-efficient services that are also responsive to service-user’s needs and is being driven by government through funding and legislation. In doing so, the government have encouraged the transfer of Local Authority staff into new provider and employee-owned mutual organisations (also known as ‘spin-outs’). This paper builds upon prior research that developed a theoretical overview of organisational change in the spin-out process, which was grounded in both policy-formulation and partnership theory. The research reported in this paper refines and develops this model, focusing in particular on the ‘outcome’ phase of the spin-out process. It draws on semi-structured interviews with senior managers at four spin-out organisations in order to develop a deeper theoretical understanding of what the outcomes are for spin-out staff and their service-users. In addition, it draws on survey data gathered from 66 spin-outs that allows the research to refine the partnership model by highlighting the differing importance of partners at different periods of the spin-out process. The research is ongoing but early analysis of the data reveals that service management and local authority senior managers and elected officials are the main arbiters of power at the start of the spin-out process, but that this importance reduces over time as the spin-out becomes more independent and service staff and users develop more strategic input. The data also suggests that outcomes for service beneficiaries improve following the spin-out process. The results are discussed in relation to our model of ‘organisational change in the spin-out process’ and the prior literature on partnerships, collaborations and policy-formulation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2014
EventInternational Society for Third Sector Research (ISTR) 11th International Conference: Civil Society and the Citizen - University of Muenster, Germany
Duration: 25 Jul 2014 → …


ConferenceInternational Society for Third Sector Research (ISTR) 11th International Conference: Civil Society and the Citizen
Period25/07/14 → …
Internet address


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