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BA (Hons)

Public Services 2014 entry

Department of Politics & Philosophy

This degree offers the opportunity to take a placement year but for all students there is a programme of community engagement/ volunteering experience. It offers specialist units covering the uniformed (policing) and nonuniformed (education, health and housing) areas of our public services. Our programme is both educational and work related and encourages the development of a range of skills, techniques, personal qualities and attitudes that are essential for successful performance in the working life of public service organisations. This degree explains the purposes of our public services and helps you understand how and why this complex and diverse sector is changing as the Government seeks to ‘modernise’ staff working practices and improve the quality of service.

Year of entry 2014

Length 3 years full-time · 4 years sandwich

UCAS code(s) L230

Fees UK and EU full-time students: £9,000 · Non-EU full-time international students: £10,250

International fee band 1 · More information

Location All Saints Campus, Manchester

Department Department of Politics & Philosophy

Features & benefits of the course

This course offers you the opportunity to study a wide range of subject areas, including politics, social policy, management, law, policing and criminology. The programme is particularly designed to enhance future employment prospects, with many of the programme units, such as law, information technology, community/third sector studies, criminal justice policy (and other specialist options) having specific vocational relevance.

  • Strong emphasis on information technology (IT), communication and team working skills.
  • Can provide a good entry route into public service careers (police, civil service, etc).

Placement options

Unless exempt because of prior work experience, you may take a year's full-time work placement in Year 3. A range of placements are offered in local councils, social housing organisations, NHS trusts and in police support work. Past placements have been with Manchester City Council, Parliament and the Audit Commission.

About the course

You will look at the services provided by public service organisations including the police, the NHS, schools, housing associations, the civil service and local authorities; examining the legal, political and social climate in which they operate, the policies governing their actions, and the needs their services are designed to meet. You will investigate how these organisations are managed and are changing in response to recent government policies such as contracting-out services to the private and voluntary sectors, electronic delivery of public services, customer choice and performance measurement. Recent multi-agency partnerships in urban regeneration and crime prevention will also be considered.

A project on a public policy area is compulsory in the final year; this can relate to your area of work.

Units you will study

  • Year 1

    In year 1, you will look at the services provided by public service organisations including the police, the NHS, schools, housing associations, the civil service and local authorities; examining the legal, political and social climate in which they operate, the policies governing their actions, and the needs their services are designed to meet. You will investigate how these organisations are managed and are changing in response to recent government policies such as contracting-out services to the private and voluntary sectors, electronic delivery of public services, customer choice and performance measurement. Recent multi-agency partnerships in urban regeneration and crime prevention will also be considered.

    • Core Units
      Law and Government for Public Services

      What is meant by politics? This unit will address that question and introduce you to both the legal system of England and the political system of the United Kingdom.  You will examine the origins and roles of the different courts, tribunals and institutions of the legal system, such as the Probation Service and the Youth Justice Service, and look at the various political institutions of the United Kingdom, such as Parliament, the Core Executive, the Civil service, Local Government Quangos and Pressure/Interest groups.

      Professional Development

      This unit provides a flexible programme of skill workshops, group work, professional experience, careers and employability presentations, and opportunities for reflective activities to enhance your employment prospects. People from within the industry (employers, police officers, councillors and magistrates) will visit the university and provide talks so that you can gain a real insight into what it's like working in Public Services and what employers are looking for in graduates from this discipline.

      Public Services in the Community

      Reflecting on the government’s Big Society agenda, this module considers the context, theory and practice of community engagement and its role in public service provision. The key themes of this unit are: (1) Public services, the public sector and the role of the state: the Big Society and public sector reform (2) Implementing the Big Society: the future role of local authority shared services; co-operatives; social firms and the voluntary sector,  and (3) Engaging the community: experiencing the work of a local voluntary organisation and reflecting on its fit with the Big Society concept. 

      Public Services Today

      This unit provides an introduction to contemporary British public services and how they are organised for delivery and funded in the light of financial cutbacks, welfare reform and privatisation/co-production political agendas. There are six elements to the unit: Introduction to the Public Services; The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State; Delivering Public Services: alternative organisational types and principles of allocation; Funding the Public Services in the Age of Austerity/budget setting; Selling and Contracting out the State; and Embedded Study Skills linked to the Professional Development Portfolio.

  • Year 2

    In year 2 the core units cover, managing the public services today, a community action project, and modern British politics. You will also have the opportunity to select from a range of optional units - social policy analysis, criminal justice policy, and the development of policing in England and Wales.

    • Core Units
      Community Action Project

      This unit embeds community participation in theories which explore the role and value of education in reproducing civil society and democracy and involves students taking part in a voluntary placement in the community.

      Managing the Public Services Today

      This unit involves an applied review of the management of change in the public services today, covering the role of the manager, the management of staff and systems, and the impact of ICT on the public services.

      Modern British Politics

      This unit introduces you to key aspects of contemporary politics in the UK with a focus on the impacts of both coalition politics and globalisation.

    • Option Units
      Criminal Justice Policy

      This unit examines how evidence is (and is not) used to support the policy-making process. A wide range of policy areas are covered including health, education, criminal justice, children’s services and substance misuse. On of the key themes is to gain a better understanding of ‘evidence – based policy’

      Idle thieving parasites? Dependent populations and the state

      This unit aims to explore how political ideology influences social policy and welfare provision with particular emphasis on the 'underclass' concept. Term 1 engages with different political ideologies and their impact on the formation of state welfare. Term 2 is devided into two blocks of equal size. Block 1 focuses on child and family policy, including child protection. The second block explores health, disability, old age and adult protection. Both blocks will highlight how welfare provisions are shaped by ideology.

      Policing in Britain within a Global Context

      This unit provides an understanding of the social and historical development of policing, placing British policing within its national, regional and international context. Your studies may include topics such as: National and International trends within policing; Globalisation, Governance and the policing of cross-border crime and security; Historical Contextualisation; Changing methods, structures and the delivery of policing; and Cooperation, consent, legitimacy and accountability.

      Transatlantic Public Administration and Policy

      An online international unit, delivered by four partner institutions in Europe and the US, which provides comparative analysis of administrative and public policymaking processes and how these may impact on outcomes.

  • Year 3

    Unless exempt because of prior work experience, you may take a year’s full-time paid work placement in Year 3. A range of placements may be available in local councils, social housing organisations, NHS trusts and in police support work. Past placements have been with Manchester City Council, Parliament and the Audit Commission.

    • Core Units
      A Dissertation or Community Engagement Project

      This unit enables you to complete an extended piece of work which develops their research skills and ability to analyse academic sources and empirical findings in an area of their own choosing. If the student chooses to do the Community Engagement Project then the unit will be based on the work they did in Public Services in the Community or on the Community Action Project.

      New Directions in Public Services

      Explores through topical case studies new directions in public policy and delivery through public organisations. The unit focuses attention on the contemporary processes by which public policies are initiated, decided, implemented and evaluated. It explores through case studies the variety of conceptual approaches to these processes.

    • Option Units
      Constitutional and Administrative Law

      An indepth analysis of all aspects of constitutional and administrative law and their relationship to wider political developments.

      Crime, Deviance and Control

      The unit will seek to facilitate students’ appreciation of current attitudes towards crime and deviance within contemporary society and the criminal justice system.

      Education Policy

      The unit aims to explore the political environment within which the British educational system functions. It will critically examine a number of issues which have affected the development of education policy in the UK since the early 1960s.

      Green Politics

      This unit includes the critical exmaination of the specific nature of the ‘green political theory’, in particular its radical variants; and the critical examination of the variety of contemporary radical approaches to ‘green political thinking’.

      Housing Problems and Housing Policy

      A critical understanding of housing policy and related social problems such as homelessness. It includes topics such as homelessness, unfit, overcrowded and sub-standard housing, unpopular neighbourhoods, equity and housing distribution, neighbourhood renewal, and the creation of ‘balanced’ communities.

      Learning From Work

      The unit enables you to use opportunities provided by their part time jobs to critically analyse and apply sociological theories and perspectives of work in a real world context, and understanding of their own employability development needs. It covers topics such as introduction to key theories and perspectives of work; how these have evolved and how society has responded to the changing nature and demands of work. Critical assessment and reflection on the application of these theories and concepts to your own experiences of work and the implications in terms of future career choices and employability.

      Management Techniques

      The unit covers a selection of people-centred management techniques that are used in modern public and private sector organisations. A key focus will be the development of student employablity skills in these techniques.

  • Year 4

    In your final year, you will be presented with a wide-range of optional units from which to choose - new directions in public services, management techniques, education policy, constitutional and administrative law, housing problems and housing policy, crime, deviance and control, evaluating social and criminal policy and green politics.

    A dissertation or work related community engagement project on a public policy area is compulsory in the final year; this can relate to your particular area of work.

As part of our drive to deliver the very highest quality programmes we are reviewing our undergraduate courses to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. Some of the details given here may not yet reflect these improvements and information will be updated as it becomes available.

Assessment details

Examinations and coursework including a dissertation in the final year.

Career options after the course

Graduates of philosophy and politics possess a number of transferable skills that are highly valued in a wide range of employment sectors.

Our former students have secured employment in areas as varied as the fast-track civil service, teaching, the armed forces intelligence corps, publishing, recruitment, journalism, media, charities, academic research and company management.

Typical entry requirements

UCAS Tariff points/Grades required

260-280

Minimum 260 at A2 or equivalent (such as BTEC National Extended Diploma at Level 3 DMM or Advanced Diploma).

Specific GCSE requirements

GCSE grade C in English Language or Literature

Non Tariffed Qualifications

A relevant Access to HE Diploma will be considered for entry to this course.

International Baccalaureate points

26

IELTS score required for international students

6.0 with no element below 5.5

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

Related courses

Related subject areas

KIS data