module specification

GI7030 - Managing Public Services (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Managing Public Services
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Professions
Total study hours 200
165 hours Guided independent study
35 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 35%   Seminar Presentation (20 minutes)
Coursework 65% 50 2,500 Word Report
Running in 2017/18 No instances running in the year

Module summary

The module provides an advanced examination of the management of public services principally in the United Kingdom. It begins by placing the current public management reform agenda within a broader historical, theoretical, and institutional framework. The module then proceeds to examine key components of, and developments in, the management of public services including: finance; decentralisation; regulation; performance and quality management; human resources; and ethics. It concludes by looking at challenges to, and the potential future of, public service management. Throughout students are encouraged to adopt a critical perspective. The module is focused on public services in the UK, but will also draw upon relevant cases from other developed, transitional and developing states.

Prior learning requirements


Module aims

This module aims to:
• Analyse the distinctiveness of public services and approaches to their management
• Provide a context within which to understand the current public management reform agenda
• Examine developments which aim to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and legitimacy of public services.


Introduction to Managing Public Services; Theories of Public Management; The Institutional Governance of Public Services; Public Finance; Decentralisation; The Regulatory State: Audit, Inspection and the Regulators; Quality Management; Human Resource Management; The Ethical Agenda; The Future Management of Public Services; Conclusion.

Learning and teaching

Blended learning is central to the module’s delivery, with much learning information being provided through Weblearn, teaching through lectures and workshops and guided independent study.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module students should be able to:
• Analyse the distinctive features of public services
• Evaluate changing approaches to the management of public services
• Contextualise contemporary developments in public service reform.

Assessment strategy

This module will be assessed through two instruments:
1. A 2,500 word report analysing management approaches of public service organisations (65%).
2. A Seminar Presentation (20 minutes) (35%).
These are designed to ensure that a depth and range of knowledge is acquired and demonstrated. They also provide an opportunity to further develop a variety of transferable skills. The report provides an opportunity to exercise initiative in topic choice and to undertake guided independent learning. The seminar presentation will provide an opportunity to demonstrate critical awareness in relation to the particular topic under consideration, exercise transferable skills and develop a degree of specialisation within the module syllabus.


Bovaird, T. and E. Löffler (Eds.) (2009) Public Management and Governance, 2nd Edition, London: Routledge.
Burnham, J. and R. Pyper (2008) Britain’s Modernised Civil Service, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Burnham, J. and S. Horton (2013) Public Management in the United Kingdom: A New Introduction, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Cabinet Office (UK Government)
Cairney, P. (2012) Understanding Public Policy: Theories and Issues, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Christensen, T. and P. Laegreid (Eds.) (2007) Transcending New Public Management: The Transformation of Public Sector Reforms, Farnham: Ashgate.
Hughes, O.E. (2012) Public Management and Administration: An Introduction, 4th Edition, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
McConnell, A. (2010) Understanding Policy Success: Rethinking Public Policy, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Moran, M. (2003) The British Regulatory State: High Modernism and Hyper-Innovation, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Moran, M. (2011) Politics and Governance in the UK, 2nd Edition, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.
Niskanen, W. (1971) Bureaucracy and Representative Government, Chicago: Aldine Atherton.
Nixon, P. et al. (Eds.) (2010) Understanding E-Government in Europe: Issues and Challenges, Abingdon: Routledge.
OECD/EU: Support for Improvement in Governance and Management
Osborne, D. and T. Gaebler (1992) Reinventing Government: How the Entrepreneurial Spirit is Transforming the Public Sector, London: Penguin.
Page, E.C. and V. Wright (Eds.) (2006) From the Active to the Enabling State: The Changing Role of Top Officials in European Nations, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Peters, B. Guy (2010) The Politics of Bureaucracy, 6th Edition, London: Routledge.
Pollitt, C. and G. Bouckaert (2011) Public Management Reform - A Comparative Analysis: New Public Management, Governance and the Neo-Weberian State, 3rd Edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Richards, D. (2008) New Labour and the Civil Service: Reconstituting the Westminster Model, London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Richards, D. (2011) “Changing Patterns of Executive Governance”, in Heffernan, R. et al. (Eds.) Developments in British Politics Nine, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
United Nations Public Administration Network
World Bank: Administrative and Civil Service Reform; Governance and Public Sector Management