Jim Pickard Another Labour figure joins Cameron’s GOAT herd

My colleague Nick Timmins passes on the information that Julian  Le Grand, the former health adviser to Tony Blair, is to lead a new task force for the coalition. It’s aimed at helping public servants quit their current jobs to create employee-owned mutuals and sell their services back to central and local government and the NHS.

It is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the brainchild of Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister (pictured), who is driving many of the changes to the machinery of government change. Maude hopes that other NHS workers will emulate the case of Swindon, where doctors and nurses working with the local authority are planning to take ownership of a jointly run health and social service.

The creation of the task force underlines the governmnent’s determination to encourage “pretty much anyone” in the public sector to become social enterpreneurs and form new mutuals in the public service, with a number of “mentors” being recruited to help new mutuals form.

The mentors include A4E, the Innovation Unit and the solicitors Cobbetts, while members of the task force include Patrick Lewis from the John Lewis Partnership, Ed Mayo of Co-ops UK, and Peter Holbrook from the Social Enterprise Coalition.

As Nick notes, the recruitment of Julian Le Grand, now a professor of social policy at the London School of Economics adds to what Labour MP Paul Flynn has dubbed “goat herd two”, after Gordon Brown’s somewhat ill-fated move to create a “government of all the talents”.

We have already seen former Labour ministers John Hutton, Frank Field and Alan Milburn all heading inquiries on pensions, poverty and social mobility for the coalition. (As well as the attempt to find a new fuel tsar with a Labour background, as we noted last night).