The Big Society: How it Works

A company called Circle has taken over the running of Hinchingbrooke hospital. On November 25th, the mastermind behind the Coalition’s plans for a Big Society, Phillip Blond, tweeted that –

Circle are an employee owned mutual – great news that they have won the contract to run hinginbrooke – its mutualisation not privatisation

The Daily Telegraph picked up the theme. On same day it wrote that Circle operates a ‘John Lewis-style partnership model’.

In fact the company is majority owned by private investors, as their website makes clear:

49.9% of Circle is owned by Circle Partnership Ltd, which is owned by everyone who works in clinical services, directly or indirectly and at every leve

50.1% is owned by Circle International plc. This is the investment vehicle that blue chip City institutional investors have subscribed to for shares by providing the capital for Circle. They ensure that any refinancing is achieved without diluting partners’ 49.9% ownership

The investment needed to buy land and build hospitals, clinics and invest in infrastructure is raised by Health Properties Ltd, a separate business.

The Coalition are pursuing privatization by stealth. I hope the John Lewis partnership and the country’s mutuals will make it clear they are not structured like Circle and do not wish to be likened to a company where employees can be outvoted by external shareholders.

Pass it on.



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