Kevin Reed, Accountancy Age, Friday 13 August 2010 at 12:38:00

Big Four staff helping first wave of public sector self-run projects

Mentors from PwC and KPMG are working with thefirstwave of mutuals run by public sector staff.

The 'Pathfinder' mutuals are public sector spinoffs where staff run theservice themselves.

Besides PwC and KPMG, mentors will come from other businesses including theJohn Lewis Partnership, Baxi and Sunderland home Care Associates.

Projects the mentors are helping on include: The Department of Health?sLondon and SE Learning Disability Team forming a regional Community InterestCompany; NHS employees forming a social enterprise to provide joined up servicesfor homeless people in Leicester; Westminster City Council working withemployees in Children?s Services and neighbouring local authorities to movetowards creating an arms-length mutual organisation; and teaching andadministrative staff planning to set up a trust to run Newton Rigg AgriculturalCollege in Cumbria.

"The potential for public sector staff to spin out is enormously exciting.The new models will show us how we best support mutuals, tackling problems whenthey first arise not expensively managing them over many years," said CabinetOffice minister Francis Maude.

"Whilst not a guaranteed solution to today's challenges, the strengths of anemployee-led model ? such as an empowered and informed workforce and a closealignment of motivation between managers and employees - has helped us create astrong culture of trust, innovation and customer service," said John LewisPartnership chairman Charlie Mayfield.