University of Technology Sydney

15642 Public Sector Governance

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2024 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Design, Architecture and Building: Institute for Public Policy and Governance
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject introduces students to the significance of governance in delivering performance and accountability in organisations. How effective governance provides the framework of systems for efficient and effective policy formation and implementation is highlighted. The subject develops the skills required to understand and navigate different governance systems, and to appreciate the underlying values of governance.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

1.. Understand governance is how societies, governments, and organisations are led and directed
2. Understand governance involves how organisations are structured, make decisions, and exercise powers
3. Appreciate the vital role of governance in managing performance, relationships and accountabilities
4. Be able to interpret and apply key governance concepts, principles and policies
5. Be aware that governance principles are not evolved in a social, political, or legal vacuum and reflect underlying values and norms
6. Be alert to the fact that systems of governance and public administration are responsive to the evolution of governance thinking and practice over time
7. Be informed of the origins and architecture of governance in the Australian public sector, and the relevance to other jurisdictions with comparable Westminster-based systems
8. Know how to interpret governance from a series of societal, governmental, sectoral and organisational perspectives
9. Know how to use the analytical tools for understanding the formulation, regulation and practice of governance
10. Appreciate emerging societal changes present key challenges to the system of governance and policy development

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

The subject provides a deeper understanding of the ways public sector organisations are governed, approaches to governance which exist in different public sector institutional environments, and how effective and sustainable these governance approaches are. The subject will contribute to the objectives of the course by integrating the governance, investment, strategic and control elements of public sector decision-making.

The subject examines how distinct public sector values and objectives aligned to systems of corporate governance, can produce diverse strategies and results in various contexts when faced with differing challenges. The subject contributes to a better understanding of the complexity of governance practices and how this may contribute to efficient, effective, and sustainable enterprise.

The subject examines how an understanding of stakeholder relationships makes for more effective governance, delivery and sustainability in the development of lasting, high-performance public sector organisations in the rapidly changing economic, social and ecological environment.

The subject develops students’ ability to critically assess their existing frames of reference when it comes to analysing public sector organisational effectiveness and sustainability. It aims to develop the necessary skills in stakeholder dialogue and management for participants to work in an innovative fashion towards making public sector organisations more successful in serving their community.

Teaching and learning strategies

The subject will use a variety of educational formats including case study analyses, small group discussion, role play exercises and speaker panels. The subject involves continuous and substantial participation by students to apply knowledge from their specific workplace contexts and experiences.

Content (topics)

  • The concepts, meanings and components of governance
  • Distinctions between private and public governance, and the specific values of public governance
  • The reform of governance and different modes of governance
  • The governance relationships between political and executive arms of government
  • Board governance in authorities and companies
  • Participatory governance frameworks
  • The regulation of governance
  • Challenges and issues for governance in an era of uncertainty


Assessment task 1: Group Report and Presentation - Forensic analysis of corporate governance failure

Type: Presentation
Groupwork: Group, group assessed
Weight: 30%

Case analysis of a maximum of 20 power point slides, with the final slide including a bibliography. Each student is expected to present an element of the analysis.

Assessment task 2: Individual case study of public sector organisation governance in practice

Type: Case study
Weight: 25%

Report of 1500 words with references

Assessment task 3: Individual analysis of innovative theory, policy and implementation of public sector governance internationally in a key sector

Type: Report
Weight: 45%

2500 words with references

Minimum requirements

To pass the subject, students need to achieve at least 50% of the total marks

Required texts

Meredith Edwards, John Halligan, Bryan Horrigan, Geoffrey Nicoll, (2012) Public Sector Governance in Australia, Australian National University

Recommended texts

Cabinet Office (2008) Excellence and Fairness: Achieving World Class Public Services, Cabinet Office UK Government

T. Clarke, J. O’Brien, and C. O’Kelley (2019) The Oxford Handbook of the Corporation, Oxford University Press

T. Clarke (2017) International Corporate Governance, Routledge

Commonwealth of Australia (2013) Public Governance, Performance and Accountability, House of Representatives, Commonwealth of Australia

G.Kelly, G. Mulgan, S. Muers (2010) Creating Public Value: An Analytical Framework for Public Service Reform, Strategy Unit, UK Cabinet Office

J. Kelly, A. Dodds (2012) Public Administration in an Age of Austerity, Public Policy and Administration, 27,3, 199-211

M. Andrews, A. Shah, (2005) Citizen-Centred Governance; A New Approach to Public Sector Reform, Washington D.C.: World Bank