Advanced Management Accounting – 22681 – 2017/18
Details of Assessment
A Report on Control Mechanisms in Recent NHS Reforms
DEADLINE: Thursday 14th December 2017 at noon. To be submitted on Canvas.
WORD LIMIT: Up to 3,000 words
In the first three lectures and first two seminars of the module we developed a conceptual understanding of control and also discussed the New Public Management reforms in the police service and in hospitals. This assignment draws primarily on these topics.
You are required to analyse the control approach presented in the March 2017 NHS publication ‘Next Steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View’, and make recommendations for improving the reform suggested with clearly stated justifications. You should communicate your analysis and recommendations in the form of a structured report (see next page) that policymakers and the general public (e.g. patient groups) could read and understand.
The primary purpose of this assignment is to assess your ability to develop a deep understanding of a complex case and to produce clear, insightful and persuasive recommendations for improvement.
NB: Use of relevant quality references and use of Harvard referencing style is expected.
There are several crucial steps to producing such an analysis:
· The first is to be patient and take time to grasp the case.
· Second, employ a conceptual framework to guide and enhance your analysis.
· Third, based on this analysis, develop your own opinions on the most important aspects of the reforms. You should then use this to focus attention on providing a deep and rich analysis of those key aspects.
· The fourth step is to build recommendations from this analysis. Your analysis and recommendations should be closely connected, with recommendations being justified both in terms of a conceptual understanding of control as well as the context of the reforms. This will enhance the justification and persuasiveness of your recommendations for resolving the issues that your analysis has highlighted.
· Fifth, you must take time to reflect and develop an overarching opinion on the reforms. This should be the basis of your commentary and will set the tone of your conclusion. The conclusion should summarise your report briefly and concisely and provide your overarching view on the way forward.
· Finally, schedule sufficient time to carefully edit the report. Editing enhances the clarity of your arguments and the flow of the report. As such, it is a crucial component of writing a sound and persuasive report.
Report Structure and Section Length
Your report should be structured according to the following headings and the corresponding guidance on length:
1) Executive Summary (approx. 300 words)
This section should present an overview of the report, highlighting key points.
2) Context of the reforms (approx. 300 words)
This section provides relevant and important background to the reforms.
3) Analysis of the reforms detailed in ‘Next Steps’ document (approx. 1,000 words)
Your analysis of the report should be balanced. You should focus your attention on particular controls that may require considerable improvement as well as those that appear to be well designed. You should indicate how well the controls you discuss target particularly relevant or impactful activities.
You should not simply describe a wide range of controls. You must focus your analysis on selected controls so you can demonstrate a depth of analysis. Your analysis should also be guided by a conceptual understanding of control.
4) Recommendations for improving the reforms (approx. 700 words)
Based on the problems you identify in your analysis, provide recommendations on how to improve the NHS reforms. In this section, focus on how to improve specific control systems and evaluate the likely impact on activity.
You need to justify your proposed reforms both in terms of the context of the reforms and in terms of your conceptual understanding of control.
5) Commentary on the rationale of the reforms (approx. 400 words)
This section should very briefly identify the rationale(s) or justification(s) that you think is, or are, driving the reform agenda. You should then present a justified and persuasive argument on the value and appropriateness of the rationale(s) you identify.
6) Conclusion (approx. 300 words)
Your conclusion should have two parts. First, it should very briefly summarise the body of the report. Second, it should provide your overall argument on the reforms. This should be based on your analysis and recommendations, but should synthesise the key points from this rather than repeat what you have already written.
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Please format and reference your report appropriately, including double line spacing. Bibliography and appendices are not included in the word count.