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Case study: Department for Digital, Media and Sport – Mutual Support Programme 2

Updated: Apr 15

Client: Department for Digital, Media and Sport – Mutual Support Programme 2 (MSP2)


Date: Dec 2017 – March 2020


Challenges faced by the client:Mutual Ventures led one of consortium selected by DCMS to provide support to public services considering establishing themselves as a Public Service Mutual. Our consortium partners were the law firms: Bates Wells and Bevan Brittan.


Government policy supported the growth of public service mutuals as part of a broader push to create a more diverse marketplace for public services. To support public services to establish themselves as a mutual ‘spin out’, the government created the ‘Mutual Support Programme’ to part-fund consulting and legal advice for prospective mutual. This helped ensure that mutuals were set up best positioned to improve outcomes, achieve its strategic objectives and maintain financial sustainability.


The programme had three priority sectors: Children’s services, health and social care and culture and leisure.


Support offered:As part of our support we managed the pipeline of prospective applicants to MPS2 making sure there was sufficient demand for each funding window. This is included identifying candidates, providing light touch support through the application process, and designing bespoke support plans for successful applicants.


For those whose application was successful we provided a range of services depending on their specific support requirements. This included:

  • Options Appraisal: we supported projects to identify the strategic, financial and operational challenges the service faced, as well as their key objectives. From this we conducted an options appraisal to identify the optimum delivery vehicle for the service. This ensured that there was a rigorous evidence base from which to recommend whether a mutual was established.

  • Business Case: we supported projects to develop a business case in line with HM Treasury’s Green Book guidance. Our support included: advising on technical considerations (TUPE, pensions, cash flow, state aid, asset transfer and contract novation), developing a financial model, advising on strategic considerations and project management.

  • Busines Plan: where needed we develop a business plan to support the new organisation assess its financial viability, and operational feasibility. This included market analysis, a detailed financial model, cash flow, stakeholder engagement, a detailed analysis of service provision and personnel considerations.

  • Implementation: we supported projects to establish themselves as mutuals, advising across organisation design, contractual considerations, finance, HR, communication and engagement plans, estate considerations, IT, and support services.

Alongside these activities we also worked to identify and disseminate key learnings for the growth and development of the mutuals sector, e.g. the libraries toolkit.


Outcome achieved:Throughout the programme we identified and engaged with over 100 projects who were interested in establishing themselves as mutuals. Through a very competitive application process we provided consulting support to 24 organisations across Children’s services, Youth services, Primary Care, Acute, Care, Culture and Libraries. This represented more than half of the projects funded through the programme.