SHE Level 4
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code MHN322805
Module Leader Karen McFarlane
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Finance and Accounting
  • B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Accounting for the Public Sector, or equivalent

Summary of Content

This module picks up on a number of the theoretical and practical issues facing the public sector, which were introduced in earlier years, and examines these in greater depth and in a more critical way. Extensive use is made of journal articles and current, emerging theories are critically reviewed The module will examine the regulatory framework, which governs public sector financial reporting. It will review capital funding and accounting in the public sector with particular reference to local authorities and the NHS. An examination of external financial statements will conclude with programme reporting and audit in the public sector. Current developments in the field will be reviewed in detail such as performance measurement, public private partnerships, the global funding crisis and government reform.


HISTORY & DEVELOPMENT -360 - Public Sector Reform - Forces for Change - The Reform Agenda -567 GOVERNANCE & ACCOUNTABILITY -360 - Models - Current Practice -567 SUPREME AUDIT -360 - Framework for Public Sector Audit - Public Audit Model - Current Developments -567 VALUE FOR MONEY & BEST VALUE -360 - Legislation - Current Arrangements - Future Developments -567 PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT -360 - Measurement & Management - Evaluating Indicators - Theoretical perspectives -567 DEVELOPMENTS IN PUBLIC SECTOR ACCOUNTING -360 - Resource Accounting & Budgeting - IFRS Implementation -567 PUBLIC SECTOR FINANCIAL INNOVATIONS -360 - PFI / PPP Conceptualisation & Development - Variants of PFI/PPP -567 SCOTTISH FUTURES TRUST -360 - Sources of Finance - Distribution of Finance PUBLIC SECTOR FUNDING & REFORM -360 - Prudential Borrowing Framework - The Scottish Budget - Alternatives to local Taxation

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students will be able to:1. critically evaluate the arrangements for financial reporting, accountability and performance reporting in the public sector2. analyse and interpret the external financial statements of local authorities, NHS Trusts and Central Government3. debate issues surrounding public sector supreme audit4. demonstrate an understanding of the implications for financial reporting of methods of capital accounting and financing, and the complex funding issues therein5. conduct individual and group research into particular topics of the course6. demonstrate developed communication skills by report writing and oral presentation

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The theoretical concepts and practical applications of the subject will be taught in lectures and seminars. Teaching and learning will comprise 1 x 2 hour lecture and 1 seminar per week. Students will be introduced to theoretical concepts, principles and issues through lectures. Seminar sessions will be participative and student controlled. These will be mainly student led, where participants will present, either individually or in groups, the results of their research into selected topics. Students will be given a 'research question of the day' and will be expected to engage in directed learning around the topic. Seminars will be contextualised to relate the student groups to particular public sector organisations. The purpose of the seminars is to reinforce and extend individual and group learning from the foundations provided by the lectures and to develop appropriate and transferable skills. Supplementary tutorial/clinic sessions will be programmed to deal with further identified needs of students. Understanding will be further developed through directed study using interactive problem solving exercises, self assessment opportunities to monitor progress and weekly reading. Feedback strategy - Students will be provided with feedback on all forms of assessed work within three weeks of submission. They will also receive feedback on all group or individual contributions to the module. The feedback that they receive is designed to: A: Facilitating the development of self-assessment Students will be asked to identify strengths and weaknesses in their own work in relation to the criteria set out in the marking template before handing the work in for marking. B: Encouraging teacher and peer dialogue The lecturer will review feedback at the tutorials where coursework and other work done by students will be handed back. In reviewing personal transferable skills such as presentation skills individually and in small teams the lecturer will provide constructive instant feedback in discussion with the rest of the class. Students will also be encouraged to discuss the comments they have been given with their peers and suggest strategies to improve their performance next time. C: Clarifying good performance A marking template is available for all student course and exam work, which will be handed out in advance and discussed with students in a tutorial prior to completion of the assignment. Anonymous examples of good, bad and indifferent work from previous cohorts of students will be handed out, together with markers' comments. D: Providing opportunities to close the gap between current and desired performance In providing feedback, the lecturer will provide action points for students to follow to enable them to improve their performance. At feedback sessions in tutorials students will be asked to identify their own action points, based on the feedback they have just received to involve students more in the generation and planned use of feedback. GSBS will continue to use the advancement of GCU Learn as a blended learning tool through its teaching and learning as well as through engagement with students. GSBS will ensure that all modules are GCU Learn enabled and with the support of the Learning Technologists at the cutting edge of development of online materials. Academic staff and the Learning Technologists will continue to work together to develop and operate all modules on GCULearn to ensure student support and information sharing. Students are provided with formative and summative feedback via a variety of mechanisms. Feedback on coursework is provided within 3 working weeks of submission.

Indicative Reading

-567 B ooks and Journals: Flynn, N. (2012) Public Sector Management 6 th Edition, Sage Publications Ltd Burnham, J. and Horton, S. (2012) Public Management 1 st Edition, Palgrave Macmillan Bandy, G. (2011) Financial Management and Accounting in the Public Sector, 1 st Edition, Routledge Jones, R. and Pendlebury, M. (2010) Public Sector Accounting, 6th Edition, Prentice Hall Coombs, H.E. and Jenkins, D.E. (2001) Public Sector Financial Management, 3 rd Edition, Cengage Learning Rogers, M. (1995) Public Sector Accounting, 1st Edition, Stanley Thornes McCabe, W., McKendrick, J., Rolfe, T. (2001) Financial Reporting and Accountability in the UK Public Sector, 1st Edition, CIPFA CIPFA, (1995) Public Sector Financial Management, 2nd Edition, Chapman & Hall Public Money & Management (Journal) -567 Financial Accountability & Management in the Public Services (Journal) -567 Online sources: <> <> <>

Transferrable Skills

Report Writing Skills - reflected in the presentation of coursework. Oral Communication Skills - reflected in individual presentations and contributions to group presentations. Participate in and lead group discussions - reflected in contributions to group presentations and seminar activities. Gathering, analysis interpretation and evaluation of ideas, concepts, qualitative and quantitative data - reflected in coursework and examination performance. Critical understanding of established theories and concepts - reflected in individual and group presentations, examination and coursework performance.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Assessment 26.00
Independent Learning 139.00
Seminare 11.00
Lectures 24.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Exam (Exams Office) 2.00 60.00 35% Unseen Examination
Coursework 1 n/a 40.00 35% Group Debates