Stepping Out NOW                                September 2014
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New Pathfinders Scheme

There has been strong interest among NHS Trusts, including FTs, in the Pathfinders scheme for mutuals announced following the Ham Review this Summer.

I helped to initiate that Review,  sat as a Member and will also be taking part, along with Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, and two CEOs of spinouts  on the body overseeing its implementation.

What prompted the Ham review in the first place was the realisation after the Mid Staffs scandals that new ways had to be found to engage NHS staff in their work and their organisations.

The success of the 42 community services spin-outs so far was seen as a real indicator of what can be achieved when public services move ownership and control towards the staff.

Inspired by this, the Social Care Minister Norman Lamb MP initiated the Ham Review and has now  secured £1m to create up to 10 'Pathfinder' NHS Trusts to explore steps to mutualisation.    These will be announced shortly.

The fruits of these Pathfinders will largely be seen after the General Election of 2015 when the incoming Government can see what mutualisation might offer to the NHS in its efforts to improve its offer to patients while reducing costs at an unprecedented level.

If what has been achieved in the 42 health spin outs so far could be repeated across the wider NHS then that would surely be £1m very well spent.


Trade Up: Free Autumn UK Roadshow

Stepping Out will be taking to the road this Autumn to help Councils understand the real potential of Alternative Delivery Vehicles and commercialisation.

With contributions from a range of organisations that have demonstrated the financial, transformational and quality impacts that can be achieved, Trade Up is the place to find out how your Council can trade its way to a new future.  

Dates and locations in the Diary:

London - 5th November
Birmingham - 7th November
Wakefield - 12th November
Cambridge - 20th November
Bath - 24th November
Salford - 25th November

To book a place or express an interest in attending, contact us at


On the Sofa...

Jonathan Parsons is Consultant Clinical Scientist and Managing Director of Chime.  He is a highly experienced audiologist who has led Chime through its transition from NHS department to successful social enterprise.  

Since joining the team at Exeter hospital in November 1995 to take up the Head of Department post, he has led the service through the modernisation of digital hearing aid services, audiologist-led direct access care and the rationalisation of paediatric audiology services placing the audiologist at the heart of care rather than a medical model. 

We talk to him about hard work, doing the right thing and being taken by surprise. Click here

*** NEW FUND ***

Big Potential - Big Potential, a BIG Lottery Fund grant fund, will deliver approx £10m of grant funding over 3 years to eligible VCSE organisations with the aim of improving the sustainability, capacity and scale of VCSE organisations in order that they may deliver greater social impact. 
If you think your organisation could benefit, talk to us about making an application

Ask The Expert

It's over to you

Each month the Stepping Out team answer questions we hear from those we meet out in the big wide world.  If you have  question about spinning a service out of a public body or growing your social business, then ask us and we’ll get one of our experts to answer it.

Please email us on with your questions and over the coming months we will endeavour to answer them.  

To receive your free copy of the Stepping Out book - How to Step Out please follow this link

Our clients cannot recommend it enough.

Of Note

#100mutuals - 21st century public services. A wonderful short film capturing three of our client's journeys as a follow up to the #100mutuals campaign.

Serco to withdraw from UK clinical services market - From HSJ

£235m orthopaedic contract awarded to Bupa and Central Surrey Health


Good Reads:

A Mutual Future? - A Stepping Out Article in The MJ

The Ham Report - Review of Staff Engagement and Empowerment in the NHS

Mutually assured benefits: Francis Maude's public sector revolution - From The Spectator

Out of the Shadows - Blog from Iain Hasdell, CEO of the EOA


21st October - Fit for the Future
: Leading the way in Health & Care featuring a workshop from Craig Dearden-Phillips

17th and 18th November - EOA Annual Conference 2014

Support and investment to grow your business
If you are looking for support to grow your social business contact us 07887 414042 or

Join Our Talent Pool!
We get involved in some fascinating assignments and have associate opportunities for people with particular skills and experience that will help move our clients forward.  If you have a talent that you think those setting up and developing new public service delivery models could benefit from then we’d love to hear from you.  Send a CV and covering note to Rob Fountain at and let’s start the conversation.
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