SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 15.00
ECTS Credit Points 7.50
Module Code MML311967
Module Leader n/a
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Sociology
  • C (May start)

Summary of Content

The module aims to examine the organisation, delivery and development of quality in the personal social services. It considers the implications for the personal social services and its organisational structures as it moves towards providing "quality" services. The question of whether quality is about achieving cheaper, more efficient services or about maximising delivery to service users is examined in relation to case study material. The module also examines the importance of 'performance measurement' and 'new managerialism' and the impact of these concepts on scrutiny and control of service providers and service users. In particular the issue of stake holder empowerment and organisational form is considered in relation to customer and citizen involvement in the public services. Finally the module reviews the impact of recent legislation and policy guidance in relation to the development of quality public services and considers how far initiatives such as 'bench marking' and 'best value' will go towards achieving this goal.


The module critically examines the development of quality in the public sector and covers the following areas in order to achieve this aim.A. What do we mean by quality?B. How has the historical roots of quality impacted on its present form in the public sector and personal social services?C. Models of Quality in the public sectorD. Measuring Quality in the Public Sector; the impact of the human dimension.E. The role of Central and Local Government in the development of public sector qualityF. Quality and the service user: liberation or regulation?G. The future of public sector quality with New labourH. Is quality good for you? : strategies for quality maximisation.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course the student should be able to:A. Understand the range of perspectives incorporated in the quality discourse and in particular what this means from political, managerial, service provider and user perspectives. B. Explore the impact of organisational structure, culture and ethos on the development of public sector quality.C. Be aware of the different levels of quality initiatives within the public sector and the importance of performance measurement and review in the development and enhancement of personal social service provision.D. Understand the strengths and limitations of recent legislative and Government policy guidance and initiatives, including those relating to best value and bench marking.E. Understand the critical importance of strategies for empowering providers and consumers of public services in order to develop quality services.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

This module will emphasis an adult learning and student centred approach in delivery. The focus of lectures, group activities and discussions will be to enable and support students to develop their understanding based on their own experiences and learning styles. This approach will be central to the teaching strategy which will consist of a combination of didactic lectures, group activities, case study material, self directed study and presentation of course work material.

Indicative Reading

Adams, R, (1998), Quality Social Work, London, MacMillan. Butcher, T, (1995), Delivering Welfare, Milton Keynes, Open University Press.Cassam, S and George, C, (1995), Cultural Changes for Total Quality: An Action Guide for Managers in Social and Health Care Agencies, London, Longman.Clarke, J & Newman, J (1998) The Managerial State: Power, Politics and Ideology in the Remaking of Social Welfare, London, Sage Publications.Connor, A & Black, S (1994) Performance Review and quality in Social Care, Research Highlights in Social Work, No 20. London, Jessica Kingsley.Cutler, T & Waine, B , (1995), Managing The Welfare State: The Politics of Public Sector Management, Oxford, Berg.Dickens,P (1995), Quality and Excellence in Human Services, Chichester,John Wiley and Sons Ltd.Flynn, N, (1997) Public Sector Management, (3rd Ed), Hertfordshire, Prentice Hall Harvester Wheatsheaf. Kirkpatrick, I & Lucio, Mm (Eds), (1995), The Politics of Quality in the Public Sector, London, Routledge. Knights, D & Willmott, H (1999), Management Lives: Power and Identity in Work Organisations, London, Sage Publications Ltd. Thompson, N (1998), Promoting Equality; Challenging discrimination and oppression in the human services, Basingstoke, MacMillan Press.Walsh, K (1995), Public Services and Market Mechanisms: Competition, Contacting and the New Public Management, Basingstoke, MacMillan Press.Willmott, H & Wilkinson, A (Eds), (1994), Making Quality Critical: New Perspectives on Organisational Change, London, Routledge.NASSA - Commission for Scotland -

Transferrable Skills

By the end of this course the student will have:Developed a critical understanding of the impact of quality initiatives on the provision of public services.Developed strategies and skills for assessing the relevance of performance measures and standards set within the public services.Developed skills in empowering service users and providers to enhance the quality of public service provision.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Lectures (PT) 16.00
Tutorials (PT) 10.00
Independent Learning (PT) 78.00
Assessment (PT) 30.00
Seminars (PT) 16.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 0.00 100.00 45% Students will complete a 3500-4000 word assignment which will examine the development and impact of quality within the personal social services.