Public Service Mutuals

Status: Open for applications


The Mutuals Support Programme offers support to both aspiring and growing Public Service Mutuals (mutuals) in England.


Fund Value:
£ 1,700,000
The scheme is now open for applications on a rolling basis.

Value Notes

The government is funding a package of support programmes to support public sector organisations across England to start a Public Service Mutual, and to support existing mutuals to thrive.

A total of £1.2 million will be available to create new mutuals, or strengthen existing ones, by providing access to advice across areas including legal, financial, marketing, human resources and business planning.

A further £500,000 will be used to pilot support programmes such as partnership working to help mutuals collaborate with voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations and others to broaden the service they offer.

A mentoring scheme will also allow newly-formed mutuals to benefit from one-to-one experienced advice and support, as well as a peer support network which will bring aspiring mutuals together to share their experiences, challenges and successes.

Extended Description

With public services under pressure, the government is looking for new ways of delivering services that meet and exceed people’s expectations and provide value for money to the taxpayer. Evidence demonstrates that the mutual model can be a viable alternative to delivering public services, compared to in-house or traditional outsourcing.

The government is awarding funding to support organisations in England considering becoming a Public Service Mutual. Organisations that wish to become or grow as Public Service Mutuals can now apply for a share of up to £1.7 million in funding.

Key Criteria                  

Organisations in England that wish to become or grow as Public Service Mutuals can now apply. The organisation must currently, or intend to, fulfil the government’s definition of a Public Service Mutual, which is an organisation that:

  • has left the public sector (also known as ‘spinning out’);
  • continues to deliver public services and aims to have a positive social impact;
  • has a significant degree of staff influence or control in the way it is run.

Existing mutuals must be in their first five years of operation, or delivering an original or extended contract which has not been retendered, or both.

There are many forms of mutual, eg employee-owned businesses like John Lewis or building societies such as Nationwide which are fully or majority owned by their members. However, mutuals can also be co-operatives or social enterprises. Mutuals are free from government control and help their staff deliver and improve their services as they know best.                                                                                                                

Eligible Expenditure

Funding will be used to deliver training, support programmes and mentoring to expand the services mutuals provide to communities.

Match Funding Restrictions

All applicants will be required to demonstrate their commitment to their project and the mutual model by providing matched funding, in cash, towards the support needed.


Although there are no specific exclusions cited within the programme guidelines, those wishing to apply are advised to liaise with the funding provider in the first instance to discuss eligibility.

Application Process 

If an applicant’s Expression of Interest passes the minimum threshold, they will be invited for an assessment with a supplier of the applicant’s choice.

If the Expression of Interest is successful, they will work with their supplier to develop a support plan. This plan will then be recommended for approval by the DCMS Mutuals Team. If approved, support will begin.

Organisations can check if they are eligible for funding by contacting the Mutuals Team at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on:

This round of funding will be available until March 2020 and follows the £57,000 that was awarded in 2017 to support mutuals.                                                                                                                                                   

Address & Contacts : 

Application forms may be available to download on the funding body’s own website.

Contact details:

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) 
100 Parliament Street 
020 7211 6000