On 16 November, for Future Forum 2017, the Governor, Deputy Governors and Chief Economist will spend the day in and around Liverpool, meeting with a wide cross-section of the public. We’ll be talking about economics and the economy and explaining to people how the financial world affects their lives. We’ll also be discussing what the Bank can do to raise public understanding of its role in the economy.
Talk to people about economics and you risk drawing a blank. Talk to them about the outlook for wages and jobs, the value of the pound, interest rates, or the prices of things in the shops, and they’re hooked. But this is all economics! This year’s Forum is about giving everyone an understanding of both a core set of economic and financial concepts, and how our policies affect them. It’s also an opportunity for people to ask questions of the Bank directly.
This year, more than ever, the emphasis is on communications – that is, the exchange of ideas. We want to have a real two-way conversation with the wider public, hearing from those whose lives are influenced by the Bank’s policies, listening, just as much as speaking. And we need your input. So please apply to attend. Free tickets will be allocated by ballot, which opens today.
To help improve public understanding, we have begun to develop an education programme and materials for the teaching of economics to school children, linked to the national curriculum. That will help to ensure that children grow up with a better understanding the terminology of economics. But we are also looking again at our communications – in terms of both the content of the messages and the media we use to convey them – to make them more accessible to everyone. Some of our major publications are getting a revamp, and the Bank’s website is being rebuilt.
We plan to showcase these initiatives at Future Forum and will use this platform to gather feedback on the Bank’s new education strategy and our approach to making our communications more readily understood.
The day will centre on student engagement in the morning, with events held at various state schools in the region. This will provide an opportunity to test and gather feedback on our newly-developed educational resources.
In the afternoon, at a plenary session, the Governor will present our new education programme and discuss what we have been doing to make our work more accessible to all. This will form the basis of a substantive and interactive discussion with the public, industry and education representatives.
There will be a panel discussion moderated by a host, with a focus on audience participation and social media Q&A. And we’ll be asking for full and frank feedback on what we’ve done so far and what we might do in future, seeking to address the following questions:
- Does the Bank’s new education strategy go far enough to try to improve children’s understanding of the economy?
- What else can the Bank of England do to help furnish future generations with the skills they need in the workplace?
- How can we make sure that discussions on the economy are accessible to all? What media should we use and how much is it reasonable to expect people to take on board?
- What can we learn from STEM and similar initiatives to ensure finance and economics appeal to a diverse audience?
The discussion will be webcast live and will be interactive across social media, including via Twitter (#FutureForumBoE), YouTube and Facebook.
The ballot can be entered via www.bankofengland.co.uk/futureforum, where further information on the event is available.