This week, Francis Maude is celebrating the Cabinet Office success story of "100 public service mutuals" with a reception at Number 10. I am looking forward to it and I hope - but don't expect - Mr Maude to acknowledge that...

  • these enterprises are mostly not really "mutuals". Rather, these are enterprises which tend to have some significant degree of employee or social ownership. Some are joint ventures, some are owned by private interests, some are charities, many are CICs. Mr Maude is pretty relaxed about it really. But many of them are not "mutuals" in the conventional sense of the term.

  • there are many more than 100 of them. Spin-outs have been emerging before Francis Maude's turn at the wheel. Dozens and probably hundreds of housing associations, leisure trusts and social care businesses and others with social, employee-owned, not-for-profit or mutual characteristics have 'spun out' of the state over several decades before this government came to power.

  • around half of the 100 mutuals which Mr Maude is celebrating emerged largely thanks to the last government's Right to Request policy in the Department of Health, which had little to do with Cabinet Office or the current administration.

This is not to say Mr Maude and the "100 mutuals" shouldn't celebrate. Or if you're not into spin-outs, that you shouldn't drown your sorrows. Neither does it mean that Mr Maude's ambition to see one in six public servants working for a mutual isn't still on course, although right now it looks preposterously optimistic, with his policies seemingly supporting around just 12 - 15 new spin-outs for each year of this government. 

But it would be nice if Mr Maude acknowledged these enterprises are part of a wider family on a longer journey, helped along by a range of diverse politicians. I'd call that success.