Is mutualisation a word?
I have been responsible for the odd bit of cringe-worthy damage to the English language over the years – removing the space between fair and trade in the launch of the ‘Fairtrade’ mark in the early 1990s was one and helping with others to bring the ugly duckling term ‘co-production’ to the UK was another. I am not sure Henrietta Moore and I used the term ‘mutualisation’ in the report we wrote for the New Economics Foundation over a decade ago, The Mutual State, although I think the think tank Demos then did. But the word seems now to be official.
The Cabinet Office has launched a mutualisation advice line today that we are making an input into. Luckily, it isn’t about jargon, but about practical guidance for those with an interest in mutual models for public services. Alongside this is an evidence paper, led by Henrietta’s former (LSE) colleague Professor Julian LeGrand.
There is still a pretty wide gap between policy hope and frontline practice, but the examples of successful co-operatives we have found overseas, such as in Italy, Spain and Sweden, stress the need for this kind of expert advice, a focus on quality and then a patient framework of support.