Public service mutuals: towards a theoretical understanding of the spin-out process

Richard Hazenberg, Kelly Hall

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


Over the past few decades the policy environment in the UK has gradually sought to encourage public sector workers to ‘spin-out’ the services that they deliver into social enterprises. The research reported in this paper draws on semi-structured interviews with eleven representatives across four local authorities in the UK that are spinning out a public service into a social enterprise. The services being spun out operate across four different sectors, which allowed the research to identify the common experiences and barriers to spinning-out. The analysis is underpinned by a theoretical model of partnerships/collaborations by Takahashi and Smutny (2002). We present an alternative version of this framework based on public sector spin-outs. In doing so, the research identified the complex partnership arrangements used in a spin-out involving multi-stakeholder collaborations with staff, services users, and public, private and third sector organisations. We also identify and discuss the challenges that this brings to local authorities in relation to managing the process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-463
Number of pages23
JournalPolicy & Politics
Issue number3
Early online date30 Apr 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • Partnership
  • policy
  • public services
  • spin-outs


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