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The Public Service Sector Experience simulation was developed in conjunction with the Government Office of the South East for use as an educational resource.

 

University Employability Portfolio: Curriculum courses or Extra-curricular events

 

Employability Experience:

Public Sector Experience
simulation

The Public Sector Experience simulation is for students thinking of working in the public sector. This simulation offers students an understanding of the challenges of making local government decisions that impact on different stakeholder groups while trying to manage budgets and work within constraints set by central government.

The challenge is: Which team can manage their local government budget to come out on time, cost and quality – and meet stakeholder expectations?

The simulation is team-based and can be run as part of curricular course work or as a co-curricular activity. It is designed for easy inclusion into course modules and is mapped against the project management skills public sector employers are looking for in their graduate intake.

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Learning outcomes

Specific learning outcomes:

Public sector employability skills developed by participating in the PSE are:

  • • Service management skills
  • • Taking responsibility and ownership
  • • Financial/budget control
  • • Managing diverse stakeholder demands / objectives / acceptable outcomes
  • • Problem-solving
  • • Team-working
  • • Persuading / negotiating / reaching decisions by consensus

 

Generic learning outcomes:

  • • Adaptability: gives an opportunity for team members to adopt different roles including leadership
  • • Effective communication: encourages articulation of ideas
  • • Information literacy: able to locate, evaluate, and effectively use the needed information
  • • Collaboration: encourages co-operation with others to achieve a common purpose
  • • Self-awareness and development: helps identify personal strengths and growth areas
  • • Career development: identifies interests, abilities, values and transferable skills and how they can impact on career decisions

Content & format

The Public Service Sector simulation was developed in conjunction with the Government Office of the South East (now known as South East England Councils) by Learning Dynamics for use as an educational / training resource

Who:
Curricular course work:
When the simulation is run as part of curricular course work, participants are generally second or third year students.

Co-curricular activity:
Where it is run as a co-curricular activity to give students the experience of public sector local government, students can be in their second or third year of study and from across faculties.

What:
Participants work in teams of 6 and are set the challenge of managing a local authority budget in the face of challenging scenario choices and diverse stakeholder interests.

The learning objectives of the simulation are to provide an overview of a framework for project management including the opportunity to practise and apply appropriate tools and techniques and to provide:

  •  Each team has to develop its strategy and prioritise its chosen spending initiatives as the decision rounds progress – the aim being to run ‘their’ authority most efficiently to the factors that determine ‘success’.
  •  The simulation is scenario-based and all teams are given the same budget and scenarios which contain alternative initiatives which they could take.
  •  Each team’s challenge is to choose between the alternatives and run their authority most effectively, based on two factors.
  •  These factors are (i) financial / budgetary and (ii) how well their decisions deliver the long-term priorities for the local authority as decided by an expert professional panel.

The budget and scenario topics include issues which are the concern of many local authorities:

  •  Safer, Stronger Communities
  •  Healthier Communities
  •  Children & Young People
  •  Economy, Education & Skills
  •  Transport & Infrastructure
  •  Housing
  •  Environment & Rural
  •  People & Sustainable Communities

 

How delivered:
Live classroom delivery:
This simulation is delivered live in a classroom situation. All resources provided by C2C and are provided in electronic format. Facilitation can either be by C2C or university educators.

How long:
This simulation can be delivered live over one day or preferably two days.

Educator/facilitator simulation resources:
The following resources are provided:

1. Tutor / Educator / Facilitator guide
2. Introductory slide presentation for all phases
3. Team Briefing in electronic format
4. Team decisions scoring software (spreadsheet format)
5. Results presentation

Team Resources include:
A comprehensive team briefing, an explanation of decisions to be taken and how these will be scored and scenarios. All resources are provided in electronic format.

Simulation benefits:

  •  Service management skills development
  •  Taking responsibility and ownership
  •  Financial/budget control
  •  Managing diverse stakeholder demands/objectives/acceptable outcomes
  •  Problem-solving
  •  Team-working
  •  Persuading / negotiating / reaching decisions by consensus
  •  Experiential learning about the public sector

Examples

The Public Service Sector simulation was developed in conjunction with the Government Office of the South East by Learning Dynamics for use as an educational resource.

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The PSE simulation can be included by the course team as supporting a curricular module for course credits or can be run as a co-curricular event / activity by the employability/ enterprise/ or careers departments.

Curricular courses Co-curricular activity:

PSE is the ideal complement to many courses and provides students with an insight into the public sector as a career choice. The learning outcomes have been mapped for the HEAR academic record, section 4 and 6.