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Understanding Multi-level Government

Key information

Subject area:

Public Policy, Politics & Security

Course type:

Executive Education

Credit level:


Credit value:



4 weeks

Available course dates:

From: 07 May 2024 To: 31 May 2024
Application deadline: 09 April 2024

Course overview

This module is designed to enable civil servants to know and understand that there are different political parties and policy objectives governing in all parts of the UK and the pressures this puts on intergovernmental relations, but also appreciate the need for stronger intergovernmental working across all four administrations. The module uses a mix of theoretical approaches, case studies, comparative studies, and explorations of official documents to address these issues.  

Civil servants also need to be aware of an increasing need for good UK-wide policy-making, as demonstrated by Covid-19. The module explores how the coordination and delivery of public services are more than simply engaging with the devolved administrations. In order to do this, civil servants need to have a firm grasp of the essential features and implications of devolution but also understand the complexities and how to engage with this within policymaking and delivery. 

As well as the UK governmental structures, the module explores how other administrations come to decisions. There is a comparison with other international systems that have developed a federal system as well as a comparison with US-style federalism. 

What does this course cover?

Week 1: Devolution and multi-level governance

This week will introduce you to the core theoretical concepts of devolution and multi-level governance and why we need to understand them.

Week 2: Applied knowledge

Week 2 is an ‘applied’ week, focusing on the practical application of the knowledge gained from week 1. At the end of this week, course members will be able to critically evaluate the effectiveness of different governmental approaches to devolution/multi-level governance.

Week 3: The role and importance of politics

This week will reintroduce the role and importance of politics. Course members will need to understand what the systemic problems are and the strengths and weaknesses of devolved entities. The emphasis this week is on the comparative. We will explore what the issues are in other systems/countries and how they compare with issues in the UK and devolved entities. A key emphasis here is on understanding structural issues.

What will I achieve?

Upon completion of this module, course members will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate the UK’s constitutional framework, the theoretical and practical application of the different devolution settlements, and intragovernmental governance including collective agreement process within UK Government policymaking across the nations. 
  • Interpret regular cross-administration engagement and use practical constitutional knowledge as a fundamental part of their job and feel confident in engaging their counterparts constructively and robustly. 
  • Know where to find out more about devolution and intergovernmental working and be able to do so rapidly.
  • Locate the UK settlement within a global context and purposively engage critically with the demands of a context of multi-level government.

Who will I learn with?

Andrew Massey

Andrew Massey

Academic Director, International School for Government

Who is this for?

This short course is for mid-career professionals. Standard entry requirements are a 2:1 degree plus 3 years of relevant work experience. Applicants without a 2:1 or higher degree are welcome to apply and typically require 5+ years of relevant work experience.

How will I be assessed?

One written assignment, plus participation in webinars and discussion forums.

Our modules offer high levels of interaction with regular points of assessment and feedback. Each four week module is worth five Master's level academic credits and includes three webinars with a King's lecturer and peer group of global professionals.

What is the teaching schedule?

Format: Fully online, plus 3 x 1-hour weekly webinars

This module has been designed specifically for an online audience. It uses a range of interactive activities to support learning including discussion forums, online readings, interactive lectures videos and online tutorials.

Fees and discounts

Tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.

Further information

Module creators

Professor Andrew Massey is the Academic Director of the International School for Government. Andrew has worked in a range of areas including British, European, and US policy and politics. His main areas of research include comparative public policy, public administration, and issues around the reform and modernisation of government and governance at all levels in the UK, US, EU, and globally.

Please note that this is only indicative information. Lecturers and course content are subject to change. Please contact us directly for the most recent information.

Course status:


Full fee £950

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