Publics, Policy and Public Services

Subject PPMN90035 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

May, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 09-May-2015 to 31-May-2015
Assessment Period End 26-Jun-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 13-May-2015
Census Date 22-May-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 12-Jun-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: This subject will be taught intensively from 9:00am - 5:00pm on 9, 10 , 30, 30 May 2015.
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours


Admission to the Master of Public Policy and Management

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

Political Science or Public Policy at undergraduate level.

Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Dr Aaron Martin


Dr. Aaron Martin:

Mr. Yehudi Blacher:

Subject Overview:

During the twentieth century and the first decade of this century new ways of thinking about the relationship between governments and their citizens have emerged. These developments have in part been a reaction to the strict application of managerial approaches which dominated public administration in the US, the UK and Australia beginning in the 1980s. It also partly reflected a deeper concern regarding the apparent decline in citizens’ attachment to and respect for the practice of politics. This subject will provoke a wide ranging discussion about the role of ‘publics’ (citizens, users, communities etc) in public policy and public services. The emergent paradigm of citizen-centred governance, sometimes called Government 2.0, is networked, collaborative and flexible, with service delivery arrangements which are personalised, choice-based and delivered through multiple channels. This subject will critically examine the theoretical underpinnings of this emergent paradigm and assess its utility in theory and practice, as well as other unconventional approaches to policy making such as behavioural economics and randomized controlled trials, through academic (Aaron Martin) and practitioner (Yehudi Blacher) perspectives. The course will include conversations with practitioners who have sought to re-think the way they have led their organisations to make them more responsive to the needs of their clients. The subject will also draw on a number of local and international case studies.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of the subject students should have developed:

  • a clear understanding of the theoretical literature which underpins new approaches to citizen-centric public administration;
  • a framework which they can apply to thinking about how organisations can become more responsive to their clients;
  • an understanding of the institutional and cultural constraints of this approach to public administration;
  • insights into its practical application in different organisational settings.

A 2,000-word essay (40%) due in Week 3, and a 3,000-word essay (60%) due in week 8.

Hurdle Requirement: As this is an Intensively-taught subject, seminar attendance is compulsory on all 4 days. Regular participation in class is required.

Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A selection of readings will be available prior to the commencement of the subject.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of the subject students should:

  • be able to demonstrate competence in critical, creative and theoretical thinking through essay writing, seminar discussion and presentations, conceptualising theoretical problems, forming judgments and arguments from conflicting evidence, and by critical analysis;
  • be able to demonstrate proficiency in the application of policy analysis skills to empirical problems;
  • be able to demonstrate an understanding of the academic protocols of research and presentation.
Related Course(s): Master of Public Administration
Master of Public Administration (Enhanced)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 100 Point Master of Public Policy and Management
100 Point Master of Social Policy
150 Point Master of Public Policy and Management
200 Point Master of Public Policy and Management
200 Point Master of Social Policy

Download PDF version.