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Purpose-driven businesses top £130 billion income per annum

Purpose-driven businesses top £130 billion income per annum

Co-operative and mutual businesses account for over £133.5bn of income annually and touch the lives of 1 in 3 people in the UK, according to a new report published by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Mutuals.

These businesses have a distinct purpose to serve their customers and communities, in contrast to investor owned firms.

Mutuals exist in every sector of the economy, from financial services to housing, to food retailing, to public services and sport. Whether it is through supplying affordable and sustainable services to consumers, providing rewarding work or strengthening community enterprise, a strong network of co-operative and mutual businesses plays an important part in a diverse and modern British economy.

The report shows significant income from each of the various sub-sectors of the co-operative and mutual sector:

from co-operatives:£36.1bn
from building societies:£5.8bn
from friendly societies & mutual insurers:£19.6bn
from housing associations:£20.0bn
from NHS foundation trusts:£52.0bn
Total:£133.5bn

At a time when Brexit dominates the UK policy agenda, mutual businesses are continuing to grow – creating an economy and society that works in the interests of the widest number of people by sharing power in, and the rewards of, business.

Mutuals help to deliver a wide range of public policy objectives. They:

  • Strengthen a UK owned business sector
  • Spread wealth more broadly and fairly throughout the country
  • Provide competition and choice for consumers in a range of markets especially those for essential goods and services
  • Create diversity in business, withbusiness strategies for a healthy, balanced economy that take a longer-term view and act as a counterbalance to mitigate systemic risk to the economy
  • Create business structures for public service providers that keep them accountable to their users and taxpayers, reducing centralisation and bureaucracy
  • Provide more than just an economic benefit to local communities by aiding social bonding and stakeholder empowerment
  • Rebuild and maintain public trust in business

Published today, the UK Mutual Economy Report makes a number of policy recommendations for increasing the contribution of co-operative and mutual business to growth, prosperity and fairness.

The All-Party Group calls on all parties to encourage:

  • Greater recognition and policy understanding of the sector by national and devolved politicians;
  • A commitment to an enabling legislative environment for the sector in the UK and
  • An understanding of where regulation disproportionately affects the sector and a commitment to address this where it occurs

Parliamentary Group Chair Gareth Thomas MP said:

Whether it is through providing rewarding work, strengthening community enterprise, or supplying affordable and sustainable services to consumers, this report clearly shows that a strong network of co-operative and mutual businesses plays an important part in a diverse and modern British economy.”

Business with a Purpose – The UK Mutual Economy Report 2019

Australian Parliament passes reforms for co-operatives and mutuals

On Thursday the Australian Parliament passed the Treasury Laws Amendment (Mutual Reforms) Act 2019.

This is the culmination of three years work by Mutuo, the Australian Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals and an unprecedented collaboration between mutual businesses across industry sectors.

It is a major step forward for Australia, delivering new landmark legislation and the first positive change to the Corporations Act for mutuals in 18 years.

• The mutual definition in the Corporations Act now identifies the importance of the sector as part of a diverse economy.
• New mutual capital instruments will facilitate growth and innovation of mutuals helping them to compete with listed businesses.
• All of this achieved whilst mutuality is safeguarded for future generations by ensuring member control remains paramount.

Mutuo’s Chief Executive, Peter Hunt, said:
“This success reflects the willingness of the Australian sector to work positively and provide leadership for mutuals. The story in Australia is inspiring. In just a few years, the way mutuals are seen and understood by the government and opposition has been transformed.”

“We have also enjoyed ongoing and sustained support across the political landscape, from the government as well as opposition parties. The Australian sector has shown how a well executed strategy can deliver real improvements to the business environments for co-operatives and mutuals.”

Find out more about the Act.

Launch of updated BCCM Sector blueprint

We’re pleased to announce the launch of the updated Business Council for Co-operatives and Mutuals [BCCM] Sector blueprint.  Conceived and produced by Mutuo, BCCM’s updated strategy document reflects the success of its advocacy over its short history as well as the new priorities of the Australian co-operative and mutual sector.

To view the document, please email mark@mutuo.coop

BCCM-Mutuo Advocacy App

We’re proud to announce the launch of the new Business Council for Co-operatives and Mutuals [BCCM] Advocacy App. The App is the first of its kind and represents a deep collaboration between the BCCM and Mutuo.

For the first time, a national peak body for co-operatives and mutuals has taken the step to communicate with its members in a new and innovative way.

The App, which is available only to BCCM members, provides a quality new service to the membership. The App’s simple format allows members to access key talking points, news and briefing from across the entire co-operative and mutual sector in Australia.

For example, if called on to speak about the benefits of mutuality in your sector the App can provide key talking points and statistics at the touch of a button.

We think this a great way for the co-op and mutual sector to get its message out and we’d love to help you develop a similar App in your country.

Talk to us today about how we can help produce an App for you.

Mutuo project delivers draft legislation for Australian mutuals

On Monday the Australian Government released a second draft Bill to create a new capital instrument for co-operatives and mutuals.

The new legislation when fully enacted will allow co-operatives and mutuals to raise capital and compete on a level playing field with investor-owned firms. The first of the two Bills will be introduced into Parliament in the first week of December, and the second in February 2019.

Peter Hunt, Mutuo’s Managing Partner said, ‘This is the culmination of three years work with the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM), building on a carefully designed and executed political strategy.’

Success in this project will mark the seventh time that Mutuo has brought about the enactment of new legislation to improve the business environment for co-operatives and mutuals, in different jurisdictions.

BCCM Chief Executive, Melina Morrison said, ‘Today we are delighted to see the final tranche of draft legislation that will help to deliver on the Government’s promise to our sector. The bipartisan nature of this process has been very encouraging.

This will enable co-operatives and mutuals to grow and better serve Australians, whilst protecting their co-operative or mutual ownership structures.”

The consultation can be viewed here:

Treasury Laws Amendment (Mutual Entities) Bill 2018: 

Australian government publishes draft legislation for mutuals

  • Mutuo partnership with BCCM delivers first ever Federal legislation for mutually owned businesses
  • Draft Bill opens for consultation ahead of introduction in Parliament in November
  • Treasury announces a second Bill will follow to introduce new capital raising instruments

Following three years’ work with the Business Council for Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM), Mutuo has today welcomed the publication of draft legislation that begins the process of modernising the Federal law for mutual businesses in Australia.

The legislation forms the first part of a two-phased approach to improve the business environment for mutually owned firms and improve their ability to compete on level terms with investor-owned corporations.

The draft legislation provides a definition of a mutual entity to recognise the sector in the Corporations Act and to determine which companies will be able to raise capital through the issuance of mutual capital instruments.

It also addresses the uncertainty in Part 5 Schedule 4 of the Corporations Act to enable mutually-owned credit unions and banks to raise capital by providing that the enhanced demutualisation disclosure requirements are only applicable where an entity no longer meets the definition of a mutual entity.

Mutuo Managing Partner Peter Hunt said,

‘This is a big day for Australian co-operatives and mutuals. It is the result of Mutuo’s careful strategy to influence government, which has been deployed with a leading group of 13 Australian mutual businesses through BCCM.

BCCM was only created in 2013.  In five short years, under the inspiring leadership of Melina Morrison, it has successfully brought together mutually owned businesses from across Australia to take their rightful place on the Australian business stage.

It has made the case for an improved business environment, first gaining political support in the Australian Senate, and now resulting in landmark legislation from the Federal Government.  All the time, this has been achieved with the enthusiastic support of politicians from across the political spectrum.  It is a case study in influence for the global co-operative sector.’

More homes; more voice – Member-based social housing

Cliff MillsIn his latest Mutuo think piece, Cliff Mills talks about the policy opportunity for mutual social housing.

There are two clear challenges for social housing today which are making it one of the top political priorities.

The first is the need to build more homes: homes that people can afford, and are of the quality that people want to live in.  The second is to give tenants a voice in how housing is provided, which includes the ability to have influence over things that impact on neighbourhoods and communities, and being able to use this voice as a mechanism for ensuring that social housing providers are accountable to communities.

Housing is more than one issue.  It cannot be separated from jobs, health and well-being, elderly care, fuel poverty, environmental issues, community safety, education and training, and much else besides.  Homes are part of neighbourhoods and have to be understood in their context. The success of housing can only be measured in this bigger context, and in interaction with that context.

Policy-makers can and should do what they can, seeing things from their strategic vantage point. But since 2000 there have been some radical developments from within the social housing movement itself which it is time to take note of, because they could make a significant contribution in meeting today’s challenges.

These developments involve a democratic member-based approach, giving individuals a voice in their organisation, sharing power beyond the board and senior executives, and at the same time making governance more robust. 

There are now eleven democratic member-based housing providers in England and Wales, which together provide over 85,000 homes. A recently released corporate strategy by one of these organisations (discussed further below) outlines how it will be delivering services and what its ambitions are over the next ten years. This document provides evidence of the relevance of this approach in meeting today’s pressing challenges.

Read more:More Homes More Voice

Mutuo working with Consumer Co-operatives Worldwide to develop business sector policy guide

Mutuo is developing a business sector policy Guide for Consumer Co-operatives Worldwide.  This will be an opportunity to address regulatory, legislative and policy barriers to the development and growth of consumer co-operatives around the world. 

Its principal use will be to develop coherent policy positions that can be used at a global, regional and national level. 

Detailed survey work of CCW members will begin shorty and we look forward to engaging with members to identify the priorities of the consumer co-operative sector.

The document builds on Mutuo’s previous policy work in producing the International Co-operative Alliance Global Manifesto in 2017.

The business sector policy guide will be published in summer 2018.

Consumer Co-operatives Worldwide (CCW) unites, represents, and defends the interests of 26 national organizations of consumer co-operatives around the globe, which represent 75 million individual members, and which register a combined total annual turnover of more than 500 billion EUR.

International Co-operative Alliance publishes Mutuo’s global guide for promotion of co-ops

ICA Global Policy Guide

Co-produced with Mutuo, the Global Policy and Advocacy Guide was designed for the International Co-operative Alliance and its members to help strengthen their advocacy efforts.

The policy guide draws together case studies of good practice from various regions and suggests methodology and communications protocols that can help to grow a consistent global approach to promoting co-operatives.

“It is important that we seek to make the case for co-operatives in an easily understood and consistent way”

Mutuo worked with the International Co-operative Alliance and its members over a nine month period to identify the movement’s policy priorities and the challenges it faced in working with national governments. The consultation process ensured that the strongest practice could be shared globally, to help co-operatives communicate their value to policy makers, legislators and regulators.

The Global Policy and Advocacy Guide is available on request via mark@mutuo.coop