Public Service Mutuals Green Paper - for consultation

The Net Balance Research Institute and the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) are pleased to announce the release of the Green Paper on  Public Service Mutuals: The case for a Third-way for delivering public services in Australia . 

Purpose of the paper  

As communities and governments all over the world struggle with addressing social and economic problems, this paper explores the role of Public Service Mutuals (member-owned businesses delivering public services on behalf of government) as an alternative business model to privatisation to large corporates or outsourcing to the Not-for-Profit sector.  Public Service Mutuals can be owned by consumers of services, the producers of services - as employees or enterprises, or a combination of consumers and producers.

The unique characteristics of Public Service Mutuals such as being member-owned and for member-benefit, their combined commercial and social purpose, and their autonomy of decision making means that they are well placed to provide client directed services cost effectively and to drive public service innovation. In particular, Public Services Mutuals are relevant in areas such as health, aged care, disability, education, affordable housing, regional economic and community development, and community empowerment.

This paper explores the potential of Public Services Mutuals and their comparative advantages over other business models, provides examples from Australia and around the world, presents strategies for growing Public Services Mutual and considers a range of potential mechanisms to support their growth in Australia. The paper concludes with a series of consultation questions, to stimulate feedback on the Green Paper.

Online consultation

To help you provide feedback Net Balance Research Institute and BCCM invite you to use our online consultation survey.  Your feedback will help inform the key findings of the research and the formulation of recommendations to stakeholders including Government, which will be presented in the Public Service Mutuals White Paper to be launched in August, 2014.


To assist with stakeholders understanding the key concepts from the Green paper and provide them with the opportunity to ask questions, we will also be holding a Webinar: Overview of the Green Paper at 10 am on 4 July, 2014. This will be a free 1hour webinar delivered by Les Hems. The webinar will provide stakeholders with:

  • Overview of the key points of the research

  • Its relevance to government, not-for-profits and the co-operative and mutuals sectors

  • An opportunity to seek responses to relevant questions. 

Please complete the survey by close of business Friday 21 July, 2014.

Join our on-line community at the Australian Public Service Mutuals Group

Each chapter of the paper can be downloaded below to make it easier to review.
Thank you in advance for your contribution to this process.

Executive Summary

Chapter 1 & 2 - Introduction & Co-operatives and Mutuals in Australia

Chapter 3 - The challenges for delivering public services

Chapter 4 - Comparative advantage of public service mutuals

Chapter 5 - Lessons from other jurisdictions 

Chapter 6 -  Strategies for expanding the roles of PSMs

Chapter 7 - Scaffolding the growth of PSMs

Chapter 8 - Key findings and consultation questions