CP0244 - Governing People and Places

SchoolCardiff School of Planning and Geography
Department CodeCPLAN0
Module CodeCP0244
External Subject CodeK490
Number of Credits20
Language of DeliveryEnglish
Module Leader Dr Gareth Enticott
SemesterSpring Semester
Academic Year2013/4

Outline Description of Module

This module introduces students to the government of place. The course examines how places are governed at different spatial scales, and the organisations involved. At the neighbourhood level, the module examines attempts to include residents and citizens into decision making, and the effectiveness of the voluntary sector and Big Society. The module examines the interactions between local and national government in shaping what gets done in cities, towns and villages. It examines various techniques and methods to improve their management of places, and the changing roles of the public and private sectors. Regional, European and International forms of place governance are also considered within the module. The module will introduce students to the political context for and structure of different layers of government; basic concepts, theories and principles of organisation in the public sector; and the tensions between different methods and scales of governing places.

On completion of the module a student should be able to

1.    Recognize the different organisations involved in governing places at different spatial scales

2.    Understand the socio-political dimensions to changes in the way places are governed

3.    Critically evaluate the limitations to different methods of governing places

4.    Appreciate the current political environment and how this sets particular agendas for practice

5.    Research and evaluate the effectiveness of methods of governing place

6.    Understand differing political perspectives on the public policy process and its outcomes, and the views of different interest groups

How the module will be delivered

Lectures, workshops and a field study visit.

Skills that will be practised and developed

(a)  Critical assessment of concepts and theories relating to the governance of place

(b)  Designing frameworks to the assess the effectiveness of local governance

(c)  Researching changes and public perceptions of government

(d)  Relating and applying ideas of government to planning and from one place to another

(e)  Preparing and presenting arguments and information in a variety of forms, e.g: written and oral.

(f)   Using IT in work preparation and presentation

(g)  Engage in small groups discussions

How the module will be assessed

Assessed by two pieces of coursework; an annotated poster and written report.

Type of assessment





(if applicable)

Approx. date of Assessment



Annotated poster


April 2014



Individual report


May 2014


The potential for reassessment in this module

Students are permitted to be reassessed in a module which they have failed, in line with the course regulations. The reassessment will usually take place during the summer.

Assessment Breakdown

Type % Title Duration(hrs) Period Week
Written Assessment 40
N/A 1 N/A
Report 60
Individual Report Drawing Research Conducted During The London Field Study Visit
N/A 1 N/A

Syllabus content

Scales of Government:lectures will cover the different scales of government; what do different levels of local, regional, national and international government cover and how do they shape the governance of places. The lecture will examine why we have the system of local government and the pressures and reasons for its reorganisation.

Ideologies of Government: lectures will examine the extent to which local government has been reshaped by ideological beliefs of government. The lectures will explore the role of new-right thinking and its effects upon the management of places and services provided by local councils, and how different ideologies have led to different structures of local government.

Improving, Inspecting and Regulating Places:lectures will examine ways in which local governments have sought to improve their own performance by using a range of instruments. Lectures will cover the role of targets and performance management, and the application of Public Choice Theory and New Public Management. The role of regulation and inspection in shaping the way local governments manage places will also be examined.

Governing between places:lectures will examine the different ways in which policies that affect places are constructed. Lectures will examine the policy cycle, and the reasons why policies may appear different in different places. Ideas of policy transfer, diffusion and convergence will also be examined by paying attention to the differences in local government in England and Wales.

Leaders and Leadership: lectureswill examine the importance of leaders and leadership in the development of places and regions. The role of city Mayors will be examined in relation to traditional and alternative political structures for elected councillors in local government.

Partnership and Participation:lectures will examine the emergence of partnership forms of local governance and the role of neighbourhood governance in shaping the delivery of public services. Forms of citizen engagement and participation will also be examined to see what roles the public play in managing and shaping the places they live in.

Field study visit: key concepts and ideas from the lectures will be explored practically through a field study visit.

Essential Reading and Resource List

Ashworth, R., G. Boyne, et al., Eds. (2010). Public Service Improvement: Theories and Evidence. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Brooks, J. (2000). "Labour’s Modernization of Local Government." Public Administration 78(3): 593-612.

Downe, J. and S. Martin (2007). "Regulation inside government: Processes and impacts of inspection of local public services." Policy and Politics 35(2): 215-232.

Hood, C. (1991). "A public management for all seasons?" Public Administration 69(1): 3-19.

Houghton, M. (1997). "Performance indicators in town planning: much ado about nothing?" Local Government Studies 23(2): 1-13.

Morphet, J. (2008). Modern Local Government. London, Sage.

Nutley, S., I. Walter, et al. (2007). Using Evidence. How research can inform public services. Bristol, Policy Press.

Power, M. (1997). The Audit Society. Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Skelcher, C. (2000). "Changing images of the State: overloaded, hollowed-out, congested." Public Policy and Administration 15(3): 3-19.

Smith, P. (1993). "Outcome-related performance indicators and organisational control in the public sector." British Journal of Management 4: 135-151.

Tallon, A. (2009). Urban Regeneration in the UK. London, Routledge.

Thornley, A. (1993). Urban Planning Under Thatcherism. The Challenge of the Market. London, Routledge.

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