258 research outputs found

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

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    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

    Public service spin-outs in the UK: towards a theoretical understanding of the spin-out process

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    Since the election of the Labour government in 1997 and its vision of the ‘Third Way’, the UK government has been keen to support social enterprise and to utilise the third sector in welfare delivery. Over the past few years the policy environment in the UK has 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 (LA) 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 allows the research to identify the common experiences and barriers in spinning out. The analysis is underpinned by a theoretical model of public/third sector collaboration by Takahashi and Smutny’s (2002), later adapted by Cornforth et al (2013). We present an alternative version of this framework based on public sector spin outs. In doing so, the research identified that there are significant barriers facing public services that seek to spin-out as social enterprises and the challenges that this brings to LAs in relation to managing the process. Issues around the sustainability of the ‘business case’ of the spin-outs proved to be the main problem, along with the difficulties of maintaining service provision during the transition phas

    Big Potential Breakthrough evaluation report: Year 2

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    Year 3 evaluation report for the Big Lottery Fund's Big Potential Breakthrough programme

    Big Issue Invest Corporate Social Venturing: Final Research Report

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    Final evaluation report for the Big Issue Invest Corporate Social Venture Fund, which sought to provide early-stage finance for start-up and nascent social ventures, blended with mentoring and partnership support for corporate partners including Barclays and Experian. The report details the performance of the fund, including it's social impact

    Assessing the state of the spin-out sector in England

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    The provision of public services in England has received large amounts of policy attention over the last three decades. During this time there have been numerous and far-reaching reforms to the public sector in England, which have resulted in less direct provision of public services by Local Authorities and an increased ‘marketisation’ of the public sector (Hall et al., 2012b; Simmons, 2008). 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. This reform is being driven by central government, which is using funding reforms and legislation to create greater public choice in the services that they use and the providers that they ‘buy’ these services from. 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’). ‘Public service mutuals’ have been defined as ‘…organisations which have left the public sector i.e. spun out, but continue to deliver public services and in which employee control plays a significant role in their operation’ (LeGrand and Mutuals Taskforce, 2012:9). Prior research exploring the spin-out sector has identified that policy initiatives such as ‘Right to Request’, ‘Right to Provide’ and ‘Mutual Pathfinders’ are having an impact and increasing the number of spin-outs from the public sector (Miller et al., 2012a; Cabinet Office, 2011). Spin-outs are seen as enabling services to be made more efficient and responsive to user’s needs, whilst at the same time reducing public expenditure (Addicott, 2011; Hall et al., 2012b; Alcock et al., 2012). However, much of the prior research on spin-outs is sector focused (i.e. exploring health and social care spin-outs only), whilst the spin-out sector in England is heterogeneous and includes leisure trusts, housing associations and employment services. There remains a limited amount of academic research that approaches the sector as a whole and that seeks to uncover common barriers to spinning-out and the challenges facing new and existing spin-outs. This research undertook a review of secondary literature in order to identify potential spin-outs and then invited the 210 organisations identified to participate in an online survey (of which 59 have responded to date). The online survey explored organisational demographics, the policy process adopted in spinning-out, the perceptions of future challenges and the ‘fit’ of commissioning frameworks. The results revealed that the spin-out sector is experiencing growth and that government policy initiatives are having partial success in promoting spin-outs. The research also revealed that the most significant challenge facing spin-outs in the future is related to access to finance and ‘payment by results’ contracting. Finally, the data also suggests that the greatest growth is experienced by those spin-outs that trade directly with consumers and that receive repayable investmen

    Big Potential Advanced: Year 4 Report

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    This is the fourth annual evaluation report for Big Potential Advanced (BPA), which looks at the last four years of operation until December 31st 2018. Back in 2015 when BPA was first launched, the funding programme offered grants to charities and social enterprises seeking business support to help them gain social investment or win contracts in excess of £500,000. From the original £10 million of BPA support for 137 organisations, 45 of those charities and social enterprises have since achieved £464 million of social investment and contracts. We hope that the experience of Big Potential shared in this, and other evaluations, helps to shape the development of future programmes so that they can apply the lessons we’ve learned and be more effective as a result
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