Public Policy

This course draws on York’s long-standing experience of Masters-level development in these areas, and has been developed in collaboration with the BBC and the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN), a collaboration of highly-rated research-led institutions in the UK, United States and China, of which University of York is a founder member. WUN member universities have provided expert input and newly created course content.


Who is this programme for?
This internationally relevant professional development course is intended for people working in the broad areas of social security, work, employment and the labour market, including welfare to work programmes. Participants likely to gain most from the course are those involved in policy development or delivering services in government departments and agencies, not-for-profit and voluntary organisations and public/private partnerships.

The programme provides for international peer-to-peer collaboration, structured around discussions and activities carried out in small tutorial groups. What are the benefits for me?
The course is aimed at advancing professional development, and is designed to:

  • develop skills for working with complex information, problem solving, decision-making, communication and change management
  • examine real and concrete issues, using analytical frameworks that can help develop capacity to tackle them
  • provide high levels of support, both in terms of tutor contact and through working together regularly with fellow students
  • develop a global understanding by using international materials, to explore the social, economic, political and organisational influences on policy and delivery
  • facilitate policy transfer by helping students to develop best practices based on the experiences of countries elsewhere
  • contextualise global themes by allowing students to put the work that they do into the wider global context, by working jointly with fellow managers in different positions and within different organisations around the world
  • encourage active learning by providing the opportunity for practising managers to come together to compare and learn from each other and work together on group assignments.

Course programme
This course provides professional development for people working in policy development or service delivery in the fields of employment, social security, pensions, family support and related areas. It will connect the study of policy on the one hand and delivery on the other; increasingly, these interconnections are central to public provision in these areas.

 The aims of the course are to:
advance professional development by:

  • developing skills for working with complex information, problem solving, decision-making, communication and change management
  • examining real and concrete issues, using analytical frameworks that can help develop capacity to tackle them
  • providing high levels of support, both in terms of tutor contact and through working together regularly with fellow students
  • developing a global understanding by using international materials, to explore the social, economic, political and organisational influences on policy and delivery
  • facilitating policy transfer by helping students to develop best practices based on the experiences of countries elsewhere
  • contextualising global themes by allowing students to put the work that they do into the wider global context, by working jointly with fellow managers in different positions and within different organisations around the world
  • encouraging active learning by providing the opportunity for practising managers to come together to compare and learn from each other and work together on group assignment

Key features of the course:

  • Focus: the interconnection of employment, labour markets, social security and welfare reform, increasingly at the heart of public policy and management
  • International aspects: the opportunity to study the international and global contexts in which public policy and delivery take place, and to learn from fellow participants in other countries. Joint teams from leading-edge universities have developed the course materials
  • Learning style: specifically designed to meet the needs of adult learners, recognising the skills, knowledge and background acquired through work experience; strong emphasis on collaborative group learning
  • Delivery: designed to be flexible regardless of participants’ locations, and to provide a variety of learning media and approaches: online and CD-ROM-based sources and printed course materials, supported by dedicated tutors
  • Support: provided by both the course tutor and through working together on a regular basis with fellow students
  • Quality: this is an intensively supported and highly effective course provided by a leading UK university with an international reputation and ranked first in the UK for teaching

The overall structure of the course will be as follows:
Individual modules (20 credits each) may be taken on a stand-alone basis or as part of:

  • The Certificate programme: three modules of 20 credits each
  • The Diploma programme: an additional three modules of 20 credits each
  • The Masters programme: an additional 60 credits made up of two modules of 20 credits each and an independent study project, also worth 20 credits

Examinations
There are no closed examinations. Each module is assessed by either one or two pieces of written work, due for submission approximately four weeks after completion of the module. The majority of the assignments will take the form of an essay, written report or similar submissions. Modules of Study
Modules may be studied individually. The modules that make up the course are listed below, along with a flavour of the questions addressed by each one: Themes in Public Sector Management
This is one of two compulsory foundation modules:
What trends and pressures are affecting public service organisations, why and with what consequences? What are or should be the boundaries between the public and private sectors, why have market-based arrangements been introduced into many public sector settings and how should public sector performance be measured?

  • The role and functions of a manager
  • How history and culture affect the role of management in organisations
  • Public/private boundaries: privatisation and public/private partnerships
  • Measuring and managing performance
  • Human resource management in public sector contexts
  • Leadership and public management
  • Ethics and public management
  • How globalisation and other current trends are affecting public management
  • Policy Analysis and Process

This is the second of the compulsory foundation modules:
How is policy made, who influences the policy agenda and what issues affect policy “success” and “failure”?
What we can learn from how different countries approach similar policy problems?

  • Current themes in social policy analysis
  • How policy problems and agendas are framed and by whom
  • The process of decision-making
  • How policies are implemented and evaluated
  • The role of front-line staff in shaping policy outcomes
  • The factors relevant to understanding policy ‘success’ and policy ‘failure’
  • How policies may be transferred betweeen different settings and countries

Leading and Managing Change
How and why does change occur at the level of society, the organisation and the individual?
How can change management theories and frameworks help in addressing change in complex public sector organisations?
What skills and behaviours do organisational “change agents” need?

  • Change management theories and frameworks
  • Organisational change within different cultures and contexts
  • Managing public sector change
  • The effects of change on individuals
  • Tools and techniques
  • The role of the manager as an agent for change
  • Applying the tools and techniques to a change initiative in your own organisation

Public Policy and Management in the Information Age
How are new information and communication technologies (ICTs) shaping public service delivery? What is the role of ICTs in welfare delivery and how does their use affect citizen/ state relationships?

  • The role and significance of new information and communications technologies (ICTs)
  • The social, economic, cultural and political factors shaping the design of ICTs
  • The implications of ICTs for citizen/state relations
  • The use of ICTs in welfare delivery
  • Security, governance and cybercrime
  • Strategies for identifying the information needs of managers and service recipients
  • Drawing on best practice to improve public service information delivery

Globalisation and Social Policy
What is “globalisation” and how is it affecting poverty alleviation, pensions, health and labour rights? What is the impact of globalisation in Asia, Latin America, Western and Eastern Europe?

  • The meaning and consequences of ‘globalisation’
  • Emergins policy issues: poverty alleviation, pensions, health, labour rights
  • How these issues are debated and addressed internationally
  • How international organisations are being reformed to deal with these issues
  • the role of trans-national social actors in the new global social policy agenda
  • How social policy is affected by globalisation in Asia, Latin America, Western and Eastern Europe
  • The politics of social policy in a number of national contexts

The Economics of Public Policy and Management
How do economic concepts affect public policy and management? Why do markets fail? What are the economics of privatisation and public/ private partnerships and what tools can help in evaluating the costs and benefits of public sector programmes?

  • The role of economics in public sector management
  • How governments choose between different priorities and services, and the role of economics in this
  • Why markets fail
  • Applying economic concepts to understand the labour market and unemployment
  • Macroeconomics and the role of government
  • The economics of state benefits and pensions
  • The economics of privatisation and public/private partnerships
  • Tools for evaluating the costs and benefits of public sector programmes

Labour Markets, Work and Welfare
What affects the demand for and supply of labour?
What leads to labour market disadvantage and discrimination and what policy responses are available? What can we learn from cross-cultural labour market perspectives?

  • Employment and labour markets in contemporary societies
  • Understanding the labour market
  • Sources of labout market data
  • How individuals and households decide who will work, hours and wages
  • What influences the demand for labour
  • Job search, selection and recruitment
  • Labour market exclusion
  • Public policy and labout market: cross cultural perspectives
  • Emerging trends and debates

Social Security Policy
What role does social security play and what choices do governments face in designing social security systems?
What is the role of benefits and of tax systems in assisting the working poor, and how do work incentives and requirements affect employment?

  • The role of the benefits and tax system in assisting the working poor
  • Family structures and their implications for social security
  • Disability and social security
  • Retirement and pensions

Comparative Social Policy
What can be learned from a “comparative” approach to studying social policy, and welfare provision in particular?
What are the issues involved in comparing welfare states?

  • The ‘comparative’ approach to social science and the study of social policy
  • The issues associated with comparing welfare states
  • Institutional arrangements in different settings
  • Historical and other factors that shaped/are shaping welfare arrangements
  • Global welfare: themes and issues

Using Evidence in Social Policy
What counts as “evidence” in making policy and what helps or hinders policy-makers in drawing on it? How can evidence-based approaches to policy-making be developed?

  • The kinds of knowledge used in policy-making
  • Types of research evidence: what counts as ‘research’, and the ways policy-making can draw on it
  • Factors that can help (or hinder) policy-makers in drawing on evidence: how evidence-based approaches can be developed
  • Issues, examples and case studies specific to policy-making contexts Entry requirements Students may register for the Certificate stage or for individual modules. Those students wishing to complete the Diploma/Masters course must first register for the Certificate stage. On successful completion, they may then proceed to the Diploma and Masters stages.

Students should have:

  • a first degree or professional experience relevant to the aims of the course
  • an interest in the professional fields addressed by the course
  • access to a personal computer with a word processing programme, email and Internet capabilities, a CD-drive and a printer
  • proficiency in English – the ability to produce well-structured work, summarise key points clearly and discuss issues in writing from different points of view
  • willingness to spend time in discussion and working online with others in a tutor group, sharing professional experience and learning from peers
  • an average of approximately 15 hours a week available for study. Participants will need to log on regularly several times each week in order to meet the course’s participation requirements
  • commitment, determination, enthusiasm and the ability to be organised and work independently
  • motivation to read and search for additional material and information

Participants who have worked in a relevant government department, agency, private sector organisation or not-for-profit body are likely to gain most from the course.

For more information about any of these courses, please contact us

All our courses are recognised by the