Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh Futures Institute : Edinburgh Futures Institute

Postgraduate Course: Designing and Delivering Public Services (fusion online) (EFIE11117)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh Futures Institute CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryPublic services not only comprise an important element of the economy of the developed and developing world, they are also essential for a vibrant economy and society. This course addresses the challenges of understanding and managing public services 'as services' whilst also asking what distinctive challenges their 'public' nature present.
Course description This course draws upon service management, service design, and public management theory in interrogating the nature of public services and their management. It also draws upon other key disciplines such as political science, social policy, marketing, and sociology. The course comprises 3 elements:

1) Individual, pre-intensive, component comprised of 5 elements:

(i) a reading pack of 10 papers - participants chose 4 of these to read, dependent on their interests, needs and background;
(ii) an introductory lecture introducing both the structure of the course and the key concepts to be utilised during the intensive component;
(iii) 5 podcasts by service managers and service designers talking about both public service design and delivery in general (3 podcasts) and the challenges of migrating the design and delivery of public services to a virtual/AI context (2 podcasts);
(iv) a 'public service' questionnaire, which participants will use to explore the nature of a real-life service encounter (as a practitioner or a citizen) and the service management processes embedded within it (for example, a social care, healthcare, or educational experience), and;
(v) an on-line group discussion workshop where participants will discuss the issues coming out of the readings, podcasts, and investigation (one each for synchronous and asynchronous students - the asynchronous students will have a dedicated discussion workshop at a 'cusp time').

2) The two-day intensive component.

The intensive component will start with an introductory seminar on the nature and challenges of public service design and delivery by the course tutor and two practitioners (one from design and one from delivery) - recorded for asynchronous to watch and discuss with a TA in an asynchronous group. The core of the intensive component will be an extended real-time case study consultancy. 2 or 3 different cases will be presented, depending on student numbers, with asynchronous student working independently on a case within time-zone 'cusps' (depending on numbers).

Students will be introduced to the public service cases by practitioners, including a 'public service challenge'. They will then work intensively in groups to design a response to the challenge presented, considering its digital/analogue dimensions, the impact of the public service ecosystem, the role of service users and citizens on the service, the key public service management and delivery issues (and how they might be resolved), and how it might be evaluated. In a closing plenary session, the students will present their response to the challenge to a panel of practitioners and academics. There will be a final plenary discussion to pull out the key issues form the exercise (a separate asynchronous presentation and discussion will be arranged, as well as a video of the on-campus presentation and discussion).

3) Individual post-intensive component of 4 elements:

(i) guided reading linked to the assignment - students will be offered a pack of nine readings and will choose a minimum of three to link to their assignment;
(ii) group tutorial linking reading, learning and the assignment - this will allow students to systematize their acquisition of learning and will also prepare the students for work on the assignments etc;
(iii) peer-support group work on one of four topics: public service design, value creation/destruction in public services, the role of the user in public service design and delivery, and evaluating public services from a service perspective - facilitated by an enabling TA and;
(iv) reflective questionnaire, exploring the learning of the participant and their future learning needs.

The student experience will integrate personal learning objectives within a group environment. It will combine individual study together with tutor and practice inputs, group seminars and tutorials, and an extended investigation of the process of public service design and delivery. It will link the experiences of the student together with a theoretical framework to understand the ecosystem of public service design and delivery and appreciate the central role of value creation to effective and sustainable public services. Asynchronous delivery will offer an equitable alternative to on-campus or synchronous study.

Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI) - Online Fusion Course Delivery Information:

The Edinburgh Futures Institute will teach this course in a way that enables online and on-campus students to study together. This approach (our 'fusion' teaching model) offers students flexible and inclusive ways to study, and the ability to choose whether to be on-campus or online at the level of the individual course. It also opens up ways for diverse groups of students to study together regardless of geographical location. To enable this, the course will use technologies to record and live-stream student and staff participation during their teaching and learning activities. Students should note that their interactions may be recorded and live-streamed. There will, however, be options to control whether or not your video and audio are enabled.

As part of your course, you will need access to a personal computing device. Unless otherwise stated activities will be web browser based and as a minimum we recommend a device with a physical keyboard and screen that can access the internet.

As part of your course, you will need access to a personal computing device. Unless otherwise stated activities will be web browser based and as a minimum we recommend a device with a physical keyboard and screen that can access the internet.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Express a critical understanding of the practice and challenges of public service design and delivery and their location within a public service ecosystem.
  2. Demonstrate how public services might be monitored and evaluated and what mix of analogue and digital data is appropriate to this task.
  3. Critically evaluate the processes of public services design and delivery, and identify the ethical challenges that they pose.
  4. Articulate the challenges of public service design and delivery within a 'service' context.
  5. Apply appropriate digital and analogue data collection/analysis skills to address real-time challenges for a public service organisation.
Reading List
Indicative Reading List:

S Osborne (2021) Public Service Logic (Routledge, London)

B George (2021) Making Public Organizations Work (Owl Press, Gent)

J Trischler & J Westman-Trischler (2021) 'Design for experience - a public service design approach in the age of digitalization' Public Management Review (

S Osborne, G Nasi & M Powell 2021 'Beyond co-production: value co-creation in public services' Public Administration (

K Strokosch & S Osborne 2020 'Co-experience, co-production and co-governance: an ecosystem approach to the analysis of value creation' Policy & Politics (48, 3)

Best B, Moffett S & McAdam R (2019) Stakeholder salience in public sector value co-creation Public Management Review (21, 11) 1707-1732

Brandsen, T & Honingh. (2016). Distinguishing different types of coproduction. Public Administration Review, (76, 3)

Donetto, S., Pierri, P., Tsianakas, V., & Robert, G. (2015). Experience-based co-design and healthcare improvement. Design Journal, (18, 2) 227-248.

Dudau A Glennon R & Verscheure B (2019) Following the yellow brick road? (Dis)enchantment with co-design, co-production and value co-creation in public services Public Management Review (21, 11)

Engen, M., Fransson, M., Quist, J., & Skålén, P. (2020). Continuing the development of the public service logic: a study of value co-destruction in public services. Public Management Review, doi:10.1080/14719037.2020.1720354.

Lember, V., Brandsen, T., & Tonurist, P. (2019). The potential impacts of digital technologies on co-production and co-creation. Public Management Review, (21, 11) 1665-1686.

Laitinen, I., Kinder, K., & Stenvall, J. (2018). Co-design and action learning in local public services. Journal of Adult and Continuing Education, (24, 1) 58-80.

Petrescu, M. (2019). From marketing to public value: towards a theory of public service ecosystems. Public Management Review, (21, 11) 1733-1752.

Powell, M., & Osborne, S. (2020) 'Social enterprises, marketing, and sustainable public service provision'. International Review of Administrative Sciences, (86, 2)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills This course will equip participants with the following graduate attributes and skills:

- The capability to evaluate information thoroughly; identifying assumptions, detecting false logic or reasoning and defining terms accurately in order to make an informed judgement (critical thinking).
- The ability to create, identify and evaluate options in order to solve complex problems by both by analysing facts and situations and apply creative thinking to develop the appropriate solutions and by asking questions (problem solving).
KeywordsPublic Services,Public Administration,Social and Healthcare,Value Creation,Service Design,Delivery
Course organiserProf Stephen Osborne
Tel: (0131 6)50 8358
Course secretaryMr David Murphy
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information