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Trust in Pathfinder pilot

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has been selected as one of just nine NHS organisations nationally to test the concept of employee-owned mutuals.

The Mutuals in Health Pathfinder Programme is a joint Cabinet Office and Department of Health initiative designed to help NHS organisations consider the potential advantages of the mutual model.

Chief Executive Michael Scott said; "We're delighted we have been selected as a national pathfinder. It will help us understand what mutualisation could mean, the potential benefits and issues. Employee engagement is a key priority for us and this pathfinder is all about the views of our staff and it will be their decision as to where this project goes.

"It's worth emphasising that this project is intended to help explore the potential and the issues involved and does not commit us to following any particular course. I understand this may cause some concern, however, we are taking part in this work so we can shape and understand the benefits to keep our services local, responsive and provide staff with the autonomy and ability to truly shape, and own service delivery."

Employee engagement plays a significant role in the operation of mutuals. Essentially, mutuals are about getting greater staff ownership of services, in some cases literally. An example from the private sector is the John Lewis Partnership.

Participation in the programme will bring with it £100,000 worth of extra central funding for the project.​