Public and Commercial Services Union
Private firm takes controlling stake in first civil service 'mutual'
The PCS union is claiming that opposition to the first civil service 'mutual' is vindicated as, just two years in, a private firm takes a controlling stake in the company.
The deal to run My Civil Service Pension (MyCSP) between the 3 shareholders – Equiniti, the government and an employee trust – was supposed to hold for at least five years without any changes.
But less than two and a half years in, Equiniti has been handed more shares to take its stake to 51%. The government now has 24% and the employee trust 25%.
A memo issued to staff this week states the shareholders agreed to a "five year lock-in, restricting the selling of shares in MyCSP in order to ensure stability of the business and reinforce commitment to our mutual partnership model".
But adds: "As part of this sale, the three shareholders have agreed to re-start the lock-in for another five years, preserving the identity, ethos and governance of MyCSP and reinforcing all the partners' commitment to our mutual joint venture in to the future and beyond what we originally envisaged."
The union asks ‘how anyone can have any faith in this, given the previous agreement has been torn up’.
MyCSP, which administers civil service pensions, was previously part of the civil service but (according to the PCS union) was ‘forced’ to become a mutual under a plan led by Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude. It met with opposition from staff who took industrial action to try to prevent the handover, citing fears it was a step towards privatisation.
The only other civil service mutual is the Cabinet Office's behavioural insights team – the so-called 'nudge unit' that only employs a handful of staff. A survey by the respected Civil Service World newspaper at the height of Mr Maude's initial push to enforce the policy found only 16% of civil servants had any interest in even exploring the idea of forming a mutual.
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