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#Prospects2014: 3BM celebrates first birthday

16 December 2014

A highlight for #Prospects2014 was celebrating with 3BM, the education support services mutual, as they marked their first year of operation.

The first mutual joint venture to spin-out from local government, 3BM chose Prospects as their private sector partner to support them to grow the business.

The pioneering new model claimed it would deliver better and more cost effective services to the public by combining the experience and local knowledge of council staff with a private sector business ethic.

Andy Rennison, Managing Director of 3BM, says: “When we started we revisited our offer to schools and improved what was in place. We now work with 235 schools; an increase of 35 in a year. We’re also providing more services to schools that we were already working with. And our turnover has grown by quarter. Over the last 12 months we’ve had 17 opportunities to bid for work and we’ve won 16!”

3BM’s success has also been recognised through being shortlisted for innovation awards at both LGC (Local Government Chronicle) and MJ (Municipal Journal) 2014 awards. 3BM was highly commended at this year’s Baxendale awards in the Public Service Mutual of the Year category.

The Cabinet Office have been supportive from the start; 3BM was officially launched at Hammersmith Town Hall by Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, who said “You feel the energy that people have for this new fledgling enterprise 3BM – they’re excited about the possibilities now available to them that weren’t there before… 3BM has shown the path for the future of public services...”

3BM also won praise from Cabinet Office Minister, Francis Maude, who said, “It will be a game changer, bringing together the knowledge, innovation and dedication of frontline staff, with the commercial rigour of the private sector. This pioneering mutual joint venture model will open the door for many more entrepreneurial public servants who want more freedom to do their jobs in the way they know is best.”

In December Sir Bob Kerslake, Head of the Civil Service, visited 3BM to meet the team and hear about their experiences of setting up a mutual. After the visit, on his blog, Sir Bob said: “In short, 3BM’s mutual journey has got off to a great start, and I look forward to following its progress. Perhaps the key benefit of the mutual model is that it enables entrepreneurial public sector staff to combine their passion for public service with more scope to improve delivery. …four days later and I still feel buoyed by their optimism.”

There may be some big names behind them but it is the employees that are sealing 3BM’s reputation. “What makes us stand out is our personalised service. We have a strong face to face service ethos, with support mechanisms in place that make a difference. Our customers always comment on how fantastic our people are. That’s because they are motivated and impassioned.” says Andy.

To Andy the reason behind the high quality service is clear; “Working for an employee-owned company means they can shape their future – they’re not waiting for someone else to make a decision. A colleague recently said “I’ve worked in the public sector for 25 years but now I own the business I work for. I can share my ideas and raise issues knowing they’ll be responded to.” That sums up the difference working as part of a mutual makes.”

Find out more about 3BM and Prospects mutual development service.

#Prospects2014 is part of our ongoing series, looking back at this year’s highlights. Follow us on Twitter (@ProspectsGroup) and join in the conversation.

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