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2016/17 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PIED2100 British Central Government

20 creditsClass Size: 120

Module manager: Dr Tim Heppell

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2016/17

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

Why should I take this module?You should take this module if you want to find out more about the real-world 'corridors of power' in Britain. The focus is on the key governing 'triangle' of Whitehall-Westminster-Palace, and on the organisation and operation of central government in Britain. The module looks at the people who run the country, how they get to those positions, the powers and responsibilities they have, how they are held to account, and at how government policy is madeBrief Reading ListChristopher Foster British Government in Crisis (2005)Simon James British Cabinet Government (1999)


On completion of the module, students should be able to demonstrate understanding of, and appraise competing theories about, the organisation and operation of British central government through a focus upon the following key questions:

- Who are the key decision-makers in British central government?
- How do they achieve their offices?
- What roles, functions, powers and responsibilities do they have?
- How is government policy made and decisions taken?
- How accountable are decision-makers?
- How and why have things changed in these respects over recent decades?


The module involves analysis of ten key categories of office-holder:
- Prime Minister
- Leader of the Opposition
- Ministers (Cabinet Ministers and Junior Ministers)
- Top civil servants
- Political advisers
- Members of Parliament
- Chief Whip
- Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Treasury
- Foreign Secretary and the Foreign Office
- The Monarch

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours178.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

non-assessed mid-term and in-class assignments

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3,000 words50.00
Essay3,000 words50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 10/08/2016


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