This challenge was particularly concerned with understanding trends in relationships between state, private and third sector provision of public services; the role that developments in science and technology may play in these processes, and the implications of any emergent trends for education.
The challenge was led by Richard Sandford (Futurelab). Some of the areas covered by this research challenge are listed below. Outcomes are available in the evidence section.
Social / economic / political trends
What are the emerging trends in the relationship between private sector and state in public service provision?
What new forms of third sector provision are developing – from community and family provision to charitable provision?
What are the key drivers (and potential challenges to) such trends? What are the alternative accounts of such trends?
What economic models for delivery are developing in these different forms of provision?
What franchising and branding strategies are developing amongst public sector organisations, and how does this impact the design and circulation of products of these organisations?
What relationships between individual and institution might develop – what strategies for ensuring loyalty/tie-ins might emerge? What might be the implications of such practices for a ‘national’ public service?
What developments in the relationship between local/community demands and national priorities and targets might emerge?
How might relationships between national governments and international private sector providers play out?
How might these different trends and tensions interact to create diverse potential futures? And what are the factors that might contribute to these different futures coming to pass?
Education, society and technology
What new education ‘providers’ are enabled by the emergence of online and networked technologies?
What trends are emerging in informal and community-based education through online and networked technologies?
What trends are emerging in publishing and broadcasting corporations’ education provision and how are these interacting with changes in economic practices of traditional education institutions such as universities and schools?
What relationships are developing between public/private/third sector online educational offerings? For example, what relationships are developing between universities and commercial companies?
What sort of inter-operable or closed systems might develop at the intersection between developments in digital technologies and new public/private relationships in education provision?
How might open source resources and open source movements support or challenge existing models of education provision?
How might new models of education provision impact on the production of curricula and assessment – what forms of knowledge will be shared, sanctioned or prohibited in any new arrangements?
How might new models of education provision impact on the production of materials and dissemination of research and ‘best practice’ across the education system?
How might learners need to be supported to navigate and effectively participate in education systems predicted on new models of public/private/third sector provision?
How can learning across different sites be managed coherently?
What forms of accreditation might be required to support learning across different institutions?
What forms of information and identity management and authentication of people and materials might be required?
What forms of resistance to traditional education providers might develop in the context of new access to information and resources? What are the implications for home/religious/alternative education practices?