John Lewis blueprint for public sector

Steve Dinneen
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DAVID Cameron is set to introduce plans for a string of mutuals in the image of John Lewis, in a move he hopes will shake up the public sector and hand “choice and control” to communities.

The mutuals are planned to cover all aspects of the public sector including education, healthcare, council services and private firms, allowing workers to make key spending decisions including managing staff numbers.

The John Lewis Partnership retail chain currently advises a pilot scheme in Swindon, in which an intermediate care unit has run staffing operations spanning over 1,000 people.

It is expected The Open Public Service White Paper will be billed as one of the sector’s biggest changes in years, with government ministers hoping for a high level of interest from the voluntary sector.

The government will stress that staff will see no financial benefits from running public services but will be able to make a positive impact on their communities.

Meanwhile, John Lewis’ managing director Andy Street says he will help to compensate for cutbacks in public services by allowing voluntary sector organisations to utilise space within his stores. The move is part of a wider plan to encourage the private sector to make a positive contribution to the communities in which they are based.