module specification

GI7084 - Multi-level Governance (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Multi-level Governance
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Professions
Total study hours 200
164 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Group Presentation 30%   Presentation (20 minutes)
Coursework 70%   Essay (3,500 words)
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Tuesday Evening

Module summary

This module provides an advanced examination of patterns in multi-tier governance, within the context of globalisation and increased complexity of the modern state. It explores the historical and contemporary nature of sub-central (local and regional) and supra-national governance, their relationship with central governments, and sets this within the theoretic and systemic context.

The module provides an analysis of competing theories that could explain the complexity of modern state administration and governance. The tensions between globalisation and subsidiarity will be discussed, as well as the concepts of multi-level governance, decentralisation and localism. These concepts and theories will be reviewed through a series of case studies of local and regional governance in the United Kingdom, the European Union and internationally, as well as through identifying the issues and frameworks that impact on contemporary modes of governance at these levels. It concludes by evaluating the potential future direction of governance at local and regional levels.

Prior learning requirements


Module aims

The module aims to explore the contemporary issues and developments in governance at the local and regional levels. More specifically, it aims to:

• introduce the contemporary context for multi-level governance and administration: globalisation and the focus on localism and decentralisation
• outline the historic developments in multi-tier governance: historical evolution of the local government system in the UK, emergence of regional governance in Europe
• outline new forms of localism and the importance of informal networks in governance
• assess the role of central governments in a multi-tier governance system
• introduce case studies of different models of multi-level governance from which transferable lessons can be drawn
• outline the political and administrative implications of multi-level governance


Teaching block 1: Theories of Multi-level Governance
• The architecture of the modern state and the impact of globalisation: Government, Governance, and Networks
• Multi-level Governance Theory and Systems: Federalism, devolution, decentralisation – or how we define and organise the centre and the periphery

Teaching block 2: Local and regional governance
• The evolution of local governance and the local state
• Structures and Processes in contemporary local governance
• Towards new forms of localism?
• The emergence mezzo-government in Europe I: Territorial and ethnic dimensions: UK devolution and Spanish local autonomous communities
• The emergence mezzo-government in Europe I: the role of regions in European governance

Teaching block 3: Globalisation and governance
• The impact of globalisation: Good ‘governance’ and the international development agenda
• Structural adjustment and governance: delivering for development in a multi-level system of governance

Teaching block 4: Integrating multi-level governance: horizontal governance
• Inter-sector and multi-tier relations: partnerships and fragmented service delivery – challenges and opportunities
• Public accountability and risk management in  multi-actor / multi-level service delivery contexts

Evaluation, Revision, Assignment consultation
• Future challenges in local and regional governance

Learning and teaching

Teaching for this module includes weekly lectures and seminars, as well as a programme of guest speakers who are practitioners in this field, some self-directed, independent research learning and group work to be carried out in the seminars.

As well as the communication of key information through lectures, the seminars will be involving student presentations/discussion/case studies. Students will be encouraged to engage with teaching and learning materials provided on Weblearn and access a wide series of online resources.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:
• recognise the significance of local and regional governance in contemporary society
• analyse its historical development and the theoretical and systemic contexts
• recognise the various models of sub-state governance and the relation between the different tiers of governance
• recognise the impact of globalisation and of the new drives towards ‘localism’ on the administration of the state and public service delivery
• evaluate the key issues and factors conditioning the governance of the local and regional state

Assessment strategy

There will be two forms summative assessment and variety of online formative assessments:
▪ A 20 minute seminar presentation on a topic covered by the syllabus - 30%.

For the presentation students will have to select a country of their choice and discuss the application of governance related theories to practical realities shaping the political and administrative relationship between central government and 1) local government, or 2) regional government, or 3) global governance actors or 4) networks of social and economic actors operating in horizontal governance.

▪ A 3,500 word written Essay on a topic related to Multi-level Governance - 70%.The topic must be discussed with, and agreed in advance by, one of the module lecturers.


• Bache, I. and Flinders, M., (ed.), (2004), Multi-Level Governance, Oxford, Oxford University Press.
• Bogdanor, V. (2001) Devolution in the United Kingdom, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
• Chandler, J.A. (2009) Local Government Today, 4th edition, Manchester University Press, Manchester.
• Denters, B. and Rose, L (2005) Comparing Local Governance: Trends and Developments, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
• Doern, Bruce and Robert Johnson (2006), Rules, Rules, Rules Rules: Multi-level Regulatory Governance, University of Toronto Press;
• Flinders, M. and Smith, M., (eds), (1999), Quangos, Accountability and Reform, Macmillan, London.
• Held, David and Anthony McGrew (2002) Globalization/Anti-Globalization, Polity Press;
• Hooghe, L. and Marks (2001), Multi-Level Governance and European Integration, London, Rowman and Littlefield.
• John, P. (2001) Local Governance in Western Europe, London: SAGE.
• King, D. and Stoker, G. (eds), (1996). Rethinking Local Democracy, London: Macmillan.
• Lazar, H. and Leuprecht, C. (ed.), (2007), Spheres of Governance, Montreal, McGill-Queen's University Press.
• Rhodes, R.A.W., (1997), Understanding Governance, Policy Networks, Governance, Reflexivity and Accountability, Oxford, Oxford University Press.
• Stewart, J., (2000) The Nature of British Local Government, Macmillan, London.
• Wilson, D. and Game, C., 4th edition, (2006), Local Government in the United Kingdom, Palgrave, London.