What is a mutual?

A mutual is an organisation which is owned and run by a defined group of members, such as employees, service users, customers or others with an interest in the business. Examples include the John Lewis Partnership, which is owned by its staff, and the Nationwide Building Society which is owned by its customers. The members lead the organisation by voting for the members of the board of directors/trustees and, depending on the structure, can also stand for election on the board. It is therefore a model that can enable much greater involvement from and accountability to those who benefit from the service. Any income generated would be used for the benefit of the organisation and its members and, as such, a mutual can also be a social enterprise and/or a charity.