Leadership in Public Services

School: School of Government
Institute of Local Government Studies

Modular value: 20 credits
Duration: 2 x 2 full day seminars

The module does not try to embrace all facets of the leadership and management of change in a general way. Rather, it focuses on those aspects that are considered to be of the greatest current (and future) significance. It is also a module that operates at the interface of theoretical analysis, political aspiration, managerial practice and the personal experience and insights of participants.

The key concepts and themes we will be examining in this module are:

  • The discourse of change ('modernisation'?) in public policy and management generally- and in criminal justice, social care and local government in particular.
  • Models and theories of leadership and management that are specifically relevant to change processes
  • Learning – individual and organisational – as a means of change.
  • Diversity and equality as core aspects of change leadership and management.
  • Innovation and creativity – both personal and organisational.

The module will be run by combining participants on three closely related modules – Leading and Managing Change in Criminal Justice / Social Care / Local Government. This has been necessitated by the imbalance in numbers of participants – which has made it impossible to run all the modules as separate entities.

Module aims

  • To develop participants’ critical understanding of the key concepts and drivers of change in public policy and public and organisations in general – and in one of the three sectors in particular: criminal justice, social care or local government.
  • To analyse key theories, concepts and models relating to the leadership and management of change in public services.
  • To explore the importance of equality and diversity as a basis for change in public and voluntary organisations.
  • To provide an opportunity for participants to develop there analytical skills in the context of change leadership and management.

Teaching and learning approach

Organisation, learning and teaching of the module

The module will consist of a mixture of presentations, discussions and group and individual exercises. It is intended that the variety of learning methods will facilitate individual learning for each participant on the programme.

Because all or most of the participants will be experienced managers, the module will explicitly draw on that experience - using it to clarify, explore and test some of the theories, models and concepts that will be used during the module.

Unit 1

  • An introduction to the module
  • Perspectives on Change:
    - personal perspectives
    - organisational perspectives 
    - public policy perspectives
  • Personal perceptions and reactions to change
  • ‘Modernisation’ - thematic perspectives on change in public policy and services
  • Organisational perspectives - the drivers of change
  • Personal and Organisational approaches to
  • innovation and creativity
  • Leadership and management - theory and practice
  • Leadership, management and learning
  • Change leadership and management:
    - Best Practice approaches from participants’ organisations.
  • Introduction to integrative exercise to be held on Day 5 of the module
  • Assignment guidance and planning

Unit 2

  • Leading and Managing Change Equality and Diversity - Equality for All? - A Disability Perspective
  • Leading and Managing Change
  • Public Service Delivery - A Citizenship Approach
  • Modernising Local Government
  • Modernising Criminal Justice
  • Modernising Social Care (1) - Children's Services
  • Modernising Social Care (2) - Adult Social Care
  • ‘Leadership, Management, Change and Innovation’ - Opportunities and barriers.
  • Assignment Planning and Module Review
  • Tutorials based on 3 sectoral groups

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module participants should:

  • Have a critical understanding of the key change leadership and management challenges confronting public and voluntary organisations in the fields of criminal justice or social care or local government - and be able to analyse how these might be addressed to best effect.
  • Be an informed and articulate participant in discussions of examples and case studies of leadership and management.
  • Be able to critically assess the relevance of a variety of theories, concepts and models of change leadership and management to particular examples of change.
  • Be able to integrate equality and diversity concepts and practices into their own management practice – and to be able to influence the practices of the organisations in which they work.
  • Have continued to enhance the analytical and problem-solving skills they have acquired in previous modules.


The module will be assessed through the completion of two written assignment:

  • 2 x 3,000 word assignments (each 50%)

Related courses

The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.