State of Britain
The module will engage you in current political debates on how the UK policy agenda is set and the manner in which public policy has changed in recent decades. You will analyse the influences on these trends past and present and discuss the implications of these trends for politics and policymaking. The module combines the use of basic theory with case studies of UK policy making. These are updated on a rolling (annual) basis to ensure they explore contemporary issues that illustrate the role of the State in Britain. The module will provide you with a foundational understanding of how policy is made, exploring the policy process as it relates to the role of the British State.
There are no pre-requisites or co-requisites for this module. It is suitable for students specialising in Politics, but is also recommended for students on interdisciplinary pathways that include politics.
Full module specification
|Module title:||State of Britain|
|Duration of module:||
Duration (weeks) - term 2: |
Through both lectures and seminars, this module aims to:
Provide you with a detailed examination of trends, actors, institutions and agenda-setting in UK public policy;
Provide academic grounding for you to progress onto a more detailed understanding of public policy processes in stages two and three;
Draw together aspects from other level one modules that explore theory and practice in politics; and
Encourage you to bring together lessons learned on the course as a whole and apply them to the policy process in the UK in order to understand how the British State functions.
ILO: Module-specific skills
- 1. Demonstrate awareness of key processes, institutions and actors in British Public Policy
- 2. demonstrate awareness of the agenda-setting process and way in which different political actors attempt to influence the content and trajectory of public policy.
- 3. Demonstrate awareness of the complexities of policy implementation, including the tools used and the actors involved
- 4. Demonstrate an understanding of the changing approaches to public policy and management used by successive governments over the past 20 years, from the Blair Administration onwards
ILO: Discipline-specific skills
- 5. Extrapolate from large amounts of descriptive material contained in newspaper reports and government publications to general academic understanding
- 6. Engage critically with material and obtain a degree of academic impartiality on the prevailing trends in UK public policy
ILO: Personal and key skills
- 7. demonstrate an understanding of theory, moving from the abstract to the concrete.
- 8. demonstrate essay writing techniques and seminar presentation skills.
- 9. Work independently, within a limited time frame, and without access to external sources, to complete a specified task.
Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities||Guided independent study||Placement / study abroad|
Details of learning activities and teaching methods
|Category||Hours of study time||Description|
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching activity||16.5||11 x 1.5 hour Lectures|
|Scheduled Learning and Teaching activity||10||Tutorials are based on lecture topics. Every student will be expected to present a tutorial paper during the year.|
|Guided Independent study||5||Preparation for formative seminar presentation|
|Guided Independent study||40||Preparation and writing of essay|
|Guided Independent study||40||Preparation and revision for examination|
|Guided Independent study||38.5||Reading for tutorials|
|Form of assessment||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|Tutorial group presentation||15 minutes||3,5,6, 7||Verbal|
Summative assessment (% of credit)
|Coursework||Written exams||Practical exams|
Details of summative assessment
|Form of assessment||% of credit||Size of the assessment (eg length / duration)||ILOs assessed||Feedback method|
|Examination||50||1 hour||1-9||Oral, from tutor|
Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)
|Original form of assessment||Form of re-assessment||ILOs re-assessed||Timescale for re-assessment|
|Examination||Examination(1 hour)||1-9||August/September assessment period|
|Essay||Essay(2,000 words)||1-8||August/September assessment period|
Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:
What is Public Policy and why do we study it?
Policy making in the British State: parliamentary processes, institutions and actors
Multi-level policy I: Public Policy in a Devolved Britain
Multi-level policy II: The Europe Union and British Public Policy
Governance and the concept of policy networks: The Rise of the Hollow State?
Agenda setting: ideas and actors
Policy Implementation and the Tools of Government
Making policy in an era of New Public Management
Case Study: Health Policy and the NHS
Trends in British Policy Making: From Blair to Cameron
Indicative learning resources - Basic reading
Bochel, H and Duncan S (2007) Making Policy in Theory and Practice, Policy Press.
Colebatch, H. (2002) Policy, OUP
Dorey, P. (2005) Policy Making in Britain: An Introduction, Sage.
Judge, D (2005) Political Institutions in the United Kingdom, Oxford University Press.
Massey, A. (2005) The State of Britain, PMPA.
Seldon, A and Kavanagh D (2005) The Blair Effect: The Blair Government, Cambridge University Press.
Richards D and Smith M (2002) Governance and Public Policy in the UK, Oxford University Press.
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Last revision date