Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2017-2018 (archived)

Module BUSI2221: Consulting in the Public Sector

Department: Business School (Business)

BUSI2221: Consulting in the Public Sector

Type Tied Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap Location Durham
Tied to N201
Tied to N203
Tied to N207
Tied to NN12
Tied to N205
Tied to N208
Tied to N501
Tied to N505
Tied to N507
Tied to N500
Tied to N506
Tied to N508
Tied to N509
Tied to N510
Tied to N511


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • The module will take a comparative approach to understanding the role of the public sector in 21st century economies. It will:
  • Look at the role and scope of the public sector in a selection of countries.
  • Consider the range of services and organisations typically provided within the public sector.
  • Consider the provision of public services by private sector utility companies and the interface between public and private sectors.
  • It will encourage students to think critically and deeply about the design and delivery of public services and the relationship with customer and user expectations.
  • It will encourage students to understand and apply different ideas, theories and concepts relating to public service management.
  • Provide students with appropriate knowledge and skills for working with and in the public sector services in future employment.


  • Content covered in this module includes:
  • the nature and scope of the public sector
  • international comparisons illustrating the variations in public provision
  • public and private sector management compared
  • managing public finance
  • new public management and the use of the market
  • public, private partnerships
  • networks and collaborative services
  • public sector service design and delivery
  • case studies of current issues in public sector management
  • strategic management within public sector organisations
  • engaging with service users
  • marketing public services
  • excellence in service delivery - performance management
  • e-government and future trends in public management

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students will have an advanced knowledge and understanding of:
  • the nature and scope of public sector organisations and public management in a range of international locations
  • key debates within public management
  • the key strengths and weaknesses of contemporary public sector management
  • approaches to the improvement of service delivery
  • the issues at the interface of public and private sector provision
  • a range of case study organisations and public services in a selection of countries
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module students should be able to:
  • Draw on information from a range of sources to evaluate public services;
  • Use analytical skills to identify and evaluate potential solutions to contemporary issues in public management;
  • Possess sufficient background knowledge to make robust applications to public sector employers and organisations working in and with the public sector.
Key Skills:
  • effective written communication skills
  • planning, organisation and time management skills
  • problem solving and analytical skills
  • group working skills
  • presentation skills

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Teaching is by lectures, seminars and support for student-centred learning. Learning takes place through attendance at lectures, preparation for and participation in seminar classes, and private study (including student-centred learning). The investigation of case studies will underpin the seminars and will encourage students to develop the skills needed for working in the public sector.
  • Students will be expected to prepare for lectures through identified readings, and prepare for seminars through case study preparation and other exercises.
  • Summative assessment is by means of one individual written report and one written examination. The summative assignment will require students to provide an in-depth analysis of some aspect of public sector management or service delivery; often this will be with reference to a specific organisation. Students will need to demonstrate their understanding of the relevant theoretical concepts covered in class, and critically assess the specific managerial challenges for the delivery of service performance.
  • The formative assessment will provide students with the opportunity to prepare and develop analytical and critical skills for the summative assessment.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 21 1 per week 1 hour 21
Seminars 8 4 in term 1; 4 in term 2 1 hour 8
Preparation and Reading 171
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Individual written assignment 2,500 words 100% Same
Component: Examination Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
One written examination 1.5 hours 100% Same

Formative Assessment:

This will be a 1,000 word background piece that will form an appendix to the individual assignment.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University