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The Policy Process - SPY00002I

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  • Department: Social Policy and Social Work
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Daniel Horsfall
  • Credit value: 30 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2022-23 to Summer Term 2022-23

Module aims

  • to introduce students to the policy analysis literature
  • to give students a better understanding of the policy-making process

Module learning outcomes

  • be familiar with key concepts and theories from the policy analysis literature
  • be able to apply policy analysis concepts and theories to real world scenarios
  • have a deeper understanding of the richness of the policy process
  • be able to think more rigorously about the ways in which social policies might be formulated


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 33
Policy Report
N/A 33
Workshop Report
N/A 34

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Reassessment Essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Information currently unavailable

Indicative reading

The key text for this course is Hudson, J and Lowe, S (2009) Understanding the Policy Process: Analysing Welfare Policy & Practice. It contains a chapter relating to each of the weekly lectures and we recommend that you read the whole of this book during the course of the module.

In addition to this, Bochel, C and Bochel, H (2003) The UK Social Policy Process offers a useful overview of the British case and Parsons, W (1996) Public Policy: An Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Policy Analysis offers a comprehensive overview of key theoretical perspectives in the field. Spicker, P (2006) Policy Analysis for Practice: Applying Social Policy provides a more applied perspective that looks at how governments analyse policies.

There are several other very good books which you should read or dip into ad lib. Brian Hogwood and Lewis Gunns Policy Analysis for the Real World is a well-established text, rather dated but an example of a scholarly text which has stood the test of time. They argue inter alia that it is difficult to establish new policy because of the clutter that already exists. Michael Hills The Public Policy Process is accompanied by a Reader which contains some very useful articles and extracts from seminal papers, some of which are required reading; The Policy Process: A Reader (2nd edition). Three texts that explore some of the core conceptual and theoretical dimensions of the literature are Considines Making Public Policy, Colebatchs Policy and Johns Analysing Public Policy. Doreys Policy Making in Britain: an Introduction provides a basic overview of the core actors and institutions involved in making policy in the UK.

There are several specialist journals in the library. The most useful for our purpose are Policy and Politics; Political Quarterly; Journal of Public Policy; Journal of Social Policy; Public Administration; Public Policy and Administration; Governance; Social Policy & Administration; Social Policy & Society; and Policy Studies. The Social Policy sub-fields all have their journals and these should be familiar to you (e.g. in Housing Policy the best academic journal is Housing Studies and the Shelter magazine Roof contains useful and up-to-date information and comment on latest developments). They are referenced as appropriate under each lecture or in the workshop information.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.