Prospects has been chosen to create a joint venture public service mutual with three London boroughs; Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F), Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster, which are already sharing many services in a drive to reduce back-office costs.
Creation of the new ELM (employee-led mutual), branded 3BM, has been driven by staff supplying support services for schools across the three boroughs and beyond.
It will continue to provide these services, from financial management and budget planning to IT and building development projects, and strategic advice to councils. It is expected to provide public services at lower cost and make up to a £1 million saving over four years.
Prospects was chosen in a challenging and lengthy 'competitive dialogue' process. All ELM staff will own shares; Prospects will earn ownership of up to 24.9% of the ELM equity for their input and support, subject to meeting key milestones and performance targets to the satisfaction of 3BM.
Ray Auvray, Executive Chairman of Prospects, said, "I am delighted that Prospects has been chosen to support 3BM as it establishes itself as a mutual. As an employee-owned organisation, Prospects is uniquely placed to support 3BM and help it grow. We look forward to working with the talented 3BM team, who have a brilliant vision for this ground-breaking initiative."
Andy Rennison, Managing Director of 3BM and driving force behind the mutualisation, said, "We volunteered to test the water as a government pathfinder because we could see the benefits of having more control and flexibility to expand our offer. Our school and council clients will benefit from a better value service, and our staff will ultimately be sharing in our commercial success. Mutualisation will combine council staff's experience and local knowledge with a private sector business ethic, improving efficiency and responsiveness while retaining the best elements of the councils' previous supportive relationship with schools."
The mutualisation project has been supported by the Cabinet Office, which designated H&F council as a national Pathfinder in 2010 to explore new ways of delivering public services more efficiently.
Cabinet Office Minister, Francis Maude, said, "3BM is set to become the first mutual joint venture to spin out from local government. It will be a game changer, bringing together the knowledge, innovation and dedication of frontline staff with the commercial rigour of the private sector. Already, over a billion pounds worth of public services are delivered by mutuals, which have been shown to boost productivity, efficiency and innovation. 3BM's 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 best."