Tenant- and Employee-Owned Mutual for Housing

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"Rochdale Boroughwide Housing has created the first tenant- and employee-owned mutual. This now owns the 13 700 homes previously owned by Rochdale Council. Tenants and employees elect their own representatives to a representative body, which also includes appointed representatives of certain key organisations. The representative body does not run the organisation, but it helps to set the framework (business plan and strategy) within which the Board of Directors is required to run the organisation."


  • Article: Going with the grain: organising for a purpose. By Cliff Mills and Gareth Swarbrick. London Journal of Primary Care 2014;6:3–7

"The traditional state-owned model of public services is coming to an end. The search for a new model benefits from reflection on the historical background, and an understanding of the broader context of concepts of public service. Modern mutuals seek both to provide a new basis for public ownership and an organisational model which underpins a redesigned service delivery model aimed at securing today’s desired outcomes.

We strongly believe in the concept of public services, but recognise that the historic model of state ownership is being dismantled. A clear new model is needed which is committed to public benefit, and which offers a strong and cogent alternative to private investor ownership. We believe that the ideas and principles underpinning traditional mutuality are highly relevant to the development of modern public services, and for this reason we are passionate about the need for modern mutualism to be explained and understood.

In looking at reform, it is important to understand the longer heritage of the public sector. This suggests a future drawing on mutual ideas and principles as a powerful alternative to private ownership. It involves a new approach to organisational design which underpins a reformed service delivery model.

This is examined through the example of Rochdale Boroughwide Housing, the UK’s first mutual social housing provider, owned and controlled by its tenant and employee members."