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UCU North West Marketisation of Education. Dexter Whitfield Adjunct Associate Professor, Australian Institute for Social Research, University of Adelaide Director, European Services Strategy Unit www.european-services-strategy.org.uk (Continuing the work of the Centre for Public Services)

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UCU North West Marketisation of Education

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Ucu north west marketisation of education l.jpg

UCU North WestMarketisation of Education

Dexter Whitfield

Adjunct Associate Professor, Australian Institute for Social Research, University of Adelaide

Director, European Services Strategy Unit


(Continuing the work of the Centre for Public Services)

January 2009

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Marketisation process

  • Commodification of services

  • Commodification of labour

  • Restructuring the state for competition/contestability and market mechanisms – competition between schools and colleges, market creating activities, money following pupils/students.

  • Restructuring democratic accountability and involvement – students/pupils treated as consumers, functions and services transferred to arms length companies and Trusts

  • Business involvement in public policy making

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Typology of Privatisation and Marketisation

  • Marketisation & privatisation of global public goods

    • Carbon market, natural resources, global governance, military

  • Marketisation & privatisation of assets and services

    • PPPs, Outsourcing, creating markets, personalisation, deregulation, sale of assets, commercialisation of public sector,

  • Privatisation of governance and democracy

    • Contract culture, transfer to quasi-public bodies, reduced transparency, business in public policy making

  • Privatisation of the public domain

    • Public intellectual knowledge, public spaces, public service principles replaced by market ideology

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Examples of marketisation

Higher education

  • Outsourcing and joint ventures with private companies for English Language teaching/foreign student recruitment and accommodation (INTO, KAPLAN and NAVITAS).

  • Student accommodation– Private Finance Initiative

  • Transnational education - the delivery of educational programmes, award or credit bearing by Higher Education Institutions – partnerships with private companies, private colleges and universities overseas – account for 180 partners (38%), mainly in Europe and Asia.

  • Employer-led funding and pathfinder courses

    Further Education

  • Outsourcing and making markets in training (Train2Gain), prison education

  • Newcastle College takeover of part of Carter and Carter – national college/market

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Examples of marketisation


  • School choice – Trusts and City Academies.

  • Education Trusts – Universities, FE Colleges, schools and employers.

  • School brokerages for buying services.

  • Partnerships by outsourcing LEAs.

  • PFI and Building Schools for the Future (BSF) with Local Education Partnerships for schools.

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Types of partnerships and joint ventures

  • New Services/New Build/Regeneration

    • New services, expansion and economic development

  • Private Finance Initiative (PFI)

    • Most are design, build, finance, operate (DBFO)

  • Strategic Service-delivery Partnership (SSP)

    • ICT, corporate services & contact centres - planning and design

  • Building Schools for the Future (BSF)

    • New secondary schools, Local Education Partnership

  • NHS Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT)

    • Surgeries and health centres

  • Property Partnerships

    • Sale and lease of government buildings

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How PFI/PPPs drive marketisation

  • Creates a market in private sector financial investment in public infrastructure

  • Enables construction companies to diversify into FM, new markets in arranging deals, due diligence and advice.

  • Arms length companies seek further independence.

  • Markets spawn brokers and middle agents.

  • BSF approach – opportunities for management consultants, advisers and managed services companies.

  • Growth of secondary market in banks and investment funds owning portfolios of schools and educational facilities. Barclay’s £81m fund for student accommodation at 8 universities.

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Neoliberal ideology

  • Market fundamentalism – dogmatic belief that markets maximise equity and prosperity - choice through competition.

  • Financialisation and individualisation –‘empowering customers’

  • Changing the role of the state – commissioning and contestability, minimal in-house provision

  • Transfer of functions/assets to arms length companies, trusts to fragment provision

  • Making markets and devising market mechanisms

  • Expanded role for private capital in infrastructure and services

  • Commercial values

  • Performance management.

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    • Slow down in higher education growth

    • Possible freeze in higher education expenditure

    • Cuts in public investment and revenue budgets

    • PPP bailouts – government finance

    • Planned PPP projects delayed/abandoned – German railways, 5 housing projects abandoned in Dublin, US$12.8bn Pennsylvania Freeway withdrawn.

    • Secondary market slowdown

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    Action strategies

    Successes– NAVITAS in Manchester, INTO in Essex, SSPs in Newcastle and 10 other councils, NHS Prescription Pricing.

    Twin track strategy has failured to mobilise and build alliances.

    Alternative plans and investment strategies needed at planning and options appraisal stage combined with workplace organising and action.

    Intervene in options appraisal and procurement processes.

    Make the case for public investment

    Use outsourcing/PPP evidence to expose threat and risks.

    Joint trade union and community alliances are essential to build political support.

    Alternative economic strategy, public investment, stringent regulation, progressive public service transformation.

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