SHE Level 4
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code MHN325643
Module Leader Claire MacRae
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Risk
  • A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

360 credit points at level 1,2 and 3 or equivalent in a related/relevant subject

Summary of Content

This module relates the theories, principles and practices of risk management to specific areas of the public sector, for example local government, the National Health Service and social care. It critically analyses the specific reasons behind the growth in local authority risk management based in New Public Management (NPM) theory (Hood, 1991) and entrepreneurial encroachment. It focuses on the internal and external risks experienced by local authorities and the role of the state in mitigating risks which impact upon local communities. Students will be given an introduction to public management theory and this provides an essential conceptual background to the professional practice of risk management throughout the wider public sector. They will explore the differences between public and private sector risk management based in organisational theory analysing the functions of local authorities and the risk impact. This module focuses on the role of central government and the implications of central government policy on local government, public services and their communities. It explores legislative requirements of local government, in particular the European Convention on Human Rights, and the implications for PSRM. Students will learn how local authorities can mitigate social risks related to adverse outcomes of UK austerity through their intermediary role. It explores the ways in which local authorities can better protect disadvantaged communities and minimise the exacerbation of inequalities. PRME are covered in the discussion of the social, as opposed to the commercial and financial, aspects of risk


-360 Public sector: Development and Management Theory and the Evolution of Local Authority Risk Management (NPM) The Organisation and Functions of Local Authorities and Risk Impact Managing Risk in the Public Sector: Public vs Private Sector Risk Management Risk Management Policies and Practices in Local Authorities. The Role of Central Government in Public Sector Risk Management Risk Implications of Central Government Policy: the case of Public-Private Partnerships Regulation and Legislation: European Convention on Human Rights and The Implications Public Service Delivery Partnering and Outsourcing: The Potential Rewards and Risks to Local Authorities Austerity and the Delivery of Public Services: A Risk Management Perspective, Exacerbation of Inequality and Socio-Economic Impact The Evolving Plurality of Models for Public Service Provision Strategies and Models for Financing Scotland's Public Service Infrastructure: What's the Risk? Co-Production, Co-Planning and Co-Design: Participatory Budgeting and Risk Implications Risk Management in the NHS and Social Care Services: An Innovative Approach to Public Service Delivery. Risk, Resilience and Crisis in the Delivery of Public Sector Services.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to: 1. Identify and critically evaluate those aspects of public sector management theory which impact upon risk management within the sector. 2. Discuss what is meant by 'social risk' 3. Analyse and discuss the effect of central government policy upon public sector organisations. 4. Critically evaluate different financial and structural models of operation for public sector risk management. 5. Justify and discuss the use of particular risk management strategies for specific areas of the public sector. 6. Discuss innovative approaches to public service provision and the associated risks. 7. Evaluate the shifting balance of public risk focusing on the role of public sector risk management in challenging economic conditions.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The learning outcomes for this module are based upon lectures which provide students with the essential knowledge of the key topic areas. These are supplemented by tutorials, which allow the application and deeper discussion of these topic areas. Students are required, either individually or in groups, to make a short seminar presentation. This presentation will require them to conduct some independent research of a range of literature sources. This module adopts the flipped classroom approach whereby each week a different group of students facilitate the seminar class. This module takes a blended learning approach by engaging students in online activity. The lectures will be supported by a programme of directed reading and structured exercises. In additon guest speakers will be used to enhance the knowledge base of the students and provide them with real world context. The teaching strategy encourages the students to question, debate and critcally analyse current issues relating to risk in the public sector. Organisatonal case studies are utlized throughout the module for this purpose. This will allow students to develop and present their own knowledge and understanding of key issues, meet the challenge of contributing meaningfully to the learning outcomes; and enhance their confdence and responsibility in line with Common Good atributes. These principles are also evident in the responsible leadership ethos of the module whereby students are able to discuss relevant case studies and develop solutons to risk related issues in an ethical, sustainable and professional manner. All students are provided with lecture slides, lecture notes and additonal reading all of which is available online. GCU Learn is used in this way as a repository, to provide students with essental learning material. It is also used as a platorm for student discussion around the weekly seminar topics. Using Padlet, wikis and blogs students will have the opportunity to engage with each other and discuss the weekly lecture topics online depending upon the teaching week. Students will be asked to contribute to a padlet wall on a specific areas to comment the dicussion presented and to engage in blogs, twitter and wikis around current public policy and the risk impact. 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

Module readers will be provided and a lengthy list of books, journals and online material is provided in the Module Handbook. For example: Flynn N (2012), Public Sector Management (6th edition), London, Sage Publications HM Treasury (2006), Risk: Good Practice in Government, Volumes 1 & 2, Drennan, L & McConnell, A & Stark, A (2014) Risk and Crisis Management in the Public Sector Routledg Stevenson, A (2015) The Public Sector: Managing The Unmanageable Kogan Page Delmon, J (2011) Public-Private Partnerships Projects in Infrastructure: An Essential Guide for Policy Makers Cambridge University Press. International Journal of Public Administration

Transferrable Skills

By the end of this module students will have gained competence in the following key areas: This module will develop the skills of relating knowledge gained from private sector risk management to the public sector inlcuding the challegnes of public sector management and the risks assocaited. This module will enhance their analytical skills and their ability to take concepts and put them into different contexts. Also, students will require to work in small groups and deliver seminar presentations and engage in online learning environments.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Seminars (FT) 12.00
Lectures (FT) 24.00
Independent Learning (FT) 99.00
Assessment (FT) 50.00
Independent Learning (FT) 15.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 01 n/a 50.00 35% Critical Essay on Public Sector Risk Management
Course Work 02 n/a 50.00 35% Case Study Report