The Tories, Labour, the Lib Dems, central government, local Government, think-tanks and others all seem to love the idea of spinning out parts of the public sector into staff-led public service providers. People are crawling over each other to sound more enthusiastic about the idea.

But there is an important distinction here which has received remarkably little attention. By almost every definition, a social enterprise is asset locked with all, or most, profits reinvested. Whereas employee-owned co-operatives or mutuals may not have these restrictions. Of course, both models can have their advantages and disadvantages, depending on the circumstances.

The previous government championed and supported social enterprise spin-outs. The current government is more interested in various forms of mutual and joint ventures. Take your pick.