Commissioning Public Services

Subject PPMN90041 (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:

March, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 02-Mar-2015 to 23-Mar-2015
Assessment Period End 30-Apr-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 06-Mar-2015
Census Date 20-Mar-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 10-Apr-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: This subject will be delivered intensively in the first 4 weeks of Semester 1. 9:00am-5:00pm 2, 9, 16, 23 March 2015.
Total Time Commitment:

Total of 170 hours


Admission to 344-AB Master of Public Policy and Management and the Master of Public Administration

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
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:


Assoc Prof Helen Dickinson


Assoc. Prof. Helen Dickinson

Subject Overview:

Commissioning public services is an elective subject available to those on the Melbourne Master of Public Administration or Master of Public Policy and Management. This subject focuses on exploring the concept of commissioning as it applies within contemporary public services. Students will develop an understanding of socio-economic, political and policy context of public service commissioning. Students will be encouraged to consider different definitions of 'commissioning' and some of the key theoretical and conceptual models underpinning this activity. The module will introduce the different aspects associated with the strategic levels of public service commissioning; assessing need and demand for services; setting priorities; ensuring quality; and involving the public in commissioning activities. Students will be exposed to practical examples of commissioning from a range of different public service contexts.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • understand the policy context and political environment in which commissioning has become a core element of public service management;
  • Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the key theoretical models underpinning commissioning and strategic management in the public sector;
  • Appreciate how to apply new skills and capabilities in commissioning to managerial practice.

1. An individual Commissioning Debate Paper of 2000 words (30%) due 16 April 2015.

2. A group-based Commissioning Communication Project (20%) presented during final seminar of the intensive teaching period.

3. An individual Commissioning Practice Paper of 2500 words (50%) due 16 June 2015, during the examination period.

Hurdle Requirement: As this is an Intensively-taught subject, seminar attendance is compulsory on all 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:

Readings will be provided on the subject LMS.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

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

On completion of this 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 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
150 Point Master of Public Policy and Management
200 Point Master of Public Policy and Management

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