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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Business School : Business Studies

Undergraduate Course: Understanding and Delivering Public Services (BUST08042)

Course Outline
SchoolBusiness School CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course explores the nature of public services in contemporary society and considers the key challenges of their management. It will examine how public management has changed and evolved over the past fifty years, how its strategic challenges are addressed through public service management, and how 'value creation' has become embedded the public management discourse. The course will be of interest both to students considering a future career in public service and to students wanting a broader understanding of how society works. It will also offer a novel perspective on management theory and will encourage a critical and creative approach to it.
Course description Academic Description
The learning aims of this course are:
- To discover what is meant by 'public services' and their societal and economic import, and the growth of public service provision across the public, private and third sectors, exploring global nuances and issues;
- To explore and evaluative the trajectory of public management reform globally and to consider the implications of this both for the efficient and effective delivery of public services and for the evolution of an active and inclusive society;
- To appreciate how the concept of 'value' has become embedded in the public management discourse and its implications for public management;
- To explore the key strategic and operational challenges of managing and delivering public services across the public, private and third sectors; and
- To appreciate the complexity of evaluating public service quality and performance.

Outline Content
Understanding public services
- Understanding the nature of public services; the organisations involved in their delivery (public, third, and private sector organisations); and the interconnections between them (partnerships, networks and contract arrangements)
- Implications of Public Management Reform and Public Administration and Management theory: from Public Administration to Public Service Logic, via the New Public Management

Value in public services
- Creating value for citizens and communities through public services and the public service ecosystem
- Active and inclusive societies: volunteering, engagement and co-production with service users, citizens and communities

Key challenges of public service management
- Strategic planning and orientation
- Designing public services to create value
- Evaluating public services - the quality and performance dimensions
- Managing innovation and change in public services
- Future developments in public services - beyond digital to AI

Student Learning Experience
The course will run over 10 weeks of contact. There will be 2 lectures per week. The lectures will mix presentation of key ideas and theories in public management together with interactive discussion of the issues arising in the curated materials for the course (students will be able to view and read these in advance of lectures via Learn). These materials will include for example: reading set in advance for the week's theme; and video clips of interviews with speakers from practice who will discuss the reality of public management.

A compulsory tutorial series will also run alongside the lectures with each student attending one 1hr tutorial per week between Weeks 3 - 10. The purpose of these tutorials will be to link the public management theory and challenges presented in the lectures to issues in practice, through interactive discussion of course materials that students will read and consider in advance. These will include for example: case studies; discussion of reading set for the week's theme; and other curated materials.

The course will be assessed by two individual assignments, weighted 40% and 60%.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: ( Global Challenges for Business (BUST08035) AND The Business of Edinburgh (BUST08036)) OR Social Policy and Society (SCPL08004)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students must have at least 1 introductory level Business Studies course at grade B or above for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  80
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 8, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Formative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 164 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 40% coursework (individual essay blog)
60% coursework (individual)
Feedback Feedback will be provided on the assessment within agreed deadlines.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Explain what public services are, how public services are delivered, and critically appreciate their differences to commercial services.
  2. Understand the key elements of contemporary public management theory and reflect upon their implications for public service management.
  3. Appreciate the key strategic and operational challenges of managing and delivering public services for public service organisations across the public, private and third sectors.
Reading List
Core texts:
S Osborne (2021) Public Service Logic (Routledge, London) ISBN: 9781003009153
O Hughes (2018) Public Management and Administration 5th Edition (Macmillan) ISBN: 9781137560100
N Flynn & A Asquer (2017) Public Sector Management 7th Edition (Sage) ISBN: 9781473925175

Key journals:
Public Management Review Online ISSN: 1471-9045
Public Administration Online ISSN:1467-9299
Public Administration Review Online ISSN: 0033-3352
International Journal of Public Sector Management Online ISSN 0951-3558
Public Money and Management Online ISSN: 1467-9302
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information Weekly lectures and seminar/tutorials
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Katharine Aulton
Tel: (0131 6)50 8074
Course secretary
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