module specification

GI7031 - Introduction to Contemporary Public Administration and Governance (2019/20)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2019/20, but may be subject to modification
Module title Introduction to Contemporary Public Administration and Governance
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Professions
Total study hours 200
45 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
119 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Practical Examination 30%   Presentation
Coursework 70%   Essay
Running in 2019/20
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Monday Evening

Module summary

The module aims to explore the contemporary issues and developments in public administration and governance at the local, regional and national levels. More specifically, it aims to:
- introduce the contemporary context for multi-level governance and administration
- overview the paradigmatic shifts from government to governance
- outline historic developments in modern state governance, including horizontal service transformation (privatisation, fragmentation, marketization) and horizontal transformation with the emergence of multiple levels of authority
- outline new forms of localism and the importance of informal networks in governance
- evaluate the interaction between different levels of government and different actors
- outline the political and administrative implications of multi-level governance for scrutiny and accountability


Introduction: Theories of administration and governance
• The architecture of the modern state I: Paradigmatic shifts in service delivery
• The architecture of the modern state II: Paradigmatic shifts in central-periphery relations LO1,LO2

Teaching block 2: The changing structure & role of Central Governments LO3,LO4
• The enabling state and fragmented governance
• Central governments post 2008 crisis

Teaching block 2: Local and regional governance 
• Developments in Structures and Processes in contemporary local governance
• Towards new forms of localism? Cities & Regions in contemporary governance
• Territorial and ethnic dimensions in regional governance. Devolution in the UK
• The role of sub-national governance in sustainable economic development and social cohesion LO1,LO3,LO5

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 

Conclusion: Evaluation, Revision, Assignment consultation
• Future challenges in local and regional governance LO4,LO5

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

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. Most of the teaching and learning materials will be provided on Weblearn and online discussion and commentary will be particularly encouraged in this module.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate critical awareness and recognise the significance of local and regional governance in modern society [LO1]
2. Critically evaluate developments in governance through various theoretical perspectives and assess practical implications from modern state governance [LO2]
3. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of various models of sub-state governance and the relation between the different tiers of governance [LO3]
4. Demonstrate critical awareness of the importance of scrutiny, accountability and open government for and effective functioning of democratic systems [LO4]
5. Critically evaluate key factors conditioning the governance of the local and regional state [LO5]

Assessment strategy

This module will be assessed through two instruments:
1. A 20 minute presentation on a topic covered by the syllabus - 30%
2. A 3,000 word written assignment (essay) on a topic related Contemporary Public Administration and Governance
The topic must be discussed with, and agreed in advance by one of the module lecturers.


 Bache, I.  & Flinders M. (2004) Multi-level governance, Oxford : Oxford University Press. CLASS NO     320.4 MUL.
 Chandler, J. A., (2009) Local government today / Manchester: Manchester University Press. CLASS NO     352.041 CHA.
 Guy, B.P. & Pierre, J. (eds) (2007) Handbook of public administration / London : SAGE. CLASS NO     351 HAN.
 Sharp, E. B. (2012) Does local government matter? How urban policies shape civic                 engagement / Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press, b2012.
 Kuhlmann, S., (2014) Introduction to comparative public administration :                 administrative systems and reform in Europe / Cheltenham; Northampton, Massachusetts : Edward Elgar,. CLASS NO     351.4 KUH.
 Vries, M., S. de, (2016) Understanding public administration / [London]: Palgrave Macmillan,. ADD.CLASS    351.
 Wilson, D.(2011) Local Government in the United Kingdom. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, ADD.CLASS    352.140941.

 Hooghe, L. (1996)  Cohesion policy and European integration : building multi-level governance / edited by. Oxford : Oxford University Press. CLASS NO     338.94 COH.
 Hooghe, L.,  & Marks, G. (2001)  Multi-level governance and European integration / Lanham, MD : Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, ADD.CLASS    320.4049094.
 Greer, S. L. (2009) Devolution and social citizenship in the UK / edited by. Bristol : Policy Press.
 Mitchell, J., (2009) Devolution in the UK / Manchester : Manchester University Press,.
 Birrell, D. (2009) The impact of devolution on social policy / Bristol, UK.
 Catherine Bromley [and  others] (2006) Has devolution delivered? / Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, b2006.
 Adams J. and Schmuecker K. (2005) Devolution in practice 2006: public policy differences within  the UK / edited by. INewcastle-upon-Tyne : IPPR North. CLASS NO     352.2830941 DEV.
 Rhodes, R. A. W. (1997) Understanding governance : policy networks, governance, reflexivity and accountability / Buckingham : Open University Press. CLASS NO     320.941 RHO.
 Public administration and democratic governance: governments serving citizens: 7th Global Forum on Reinventing Government,  Building Trust in Government, 26-29 June 2007, Vienna, Austria / Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Division                 for Public Administration and Development Management. New York : United Nations, 2007. CLASS NO     321.8 PUB.
Additional reading will be suggested for each session. Students should consult relevant academic journals via the University Library service, which has subscriptions to a large number of academic databases. 
 Public Administration
 The Journal of Federalism
 Parliamentary Affairs
 Journal of Representation
 Regional Studies
 Governance
 Regional and Federal Studies
 British Journal of Politics and International Relations   Political Studies
 Local Government Chronicle 
 Local Government Studies
 MJ - Municipal Journal 
 Policy and Politics
 European Urban and Regional Studies
 Contemporary Wales
 European Planning Studies
 Department of Communities and Local Government: 
 Local Government Improvement and Development:  
 Local Government Association: 
 Local Government Elections Centre: 
 Local Government Information Unit: 
 New Local Government Network: