This course is about factors in the political and public service environment that impact on the effectiveness with which programs are implemented and delivered. The objective of the course is to identify and examine these factors and to understand how that knowledge might be used to optimize effectiveness in implementing new policy and to improve existing program effectiveness.

Donald Savoie’s most recent book, What is Government Good at: A Canadian Answer, will be used as the starting point in our exploration of these factors. I have chosen this book, not because it provides definitive answers to the question he poses in the title, but because he provides a critical analysis with conclusions that are open debate.

To give the course a practical orientation, students will pick a program for critical examination of its design and other factors relevant for effective delivery. The program selected can be either an existing program or a new policy actually or prospectively under development. The examination will constitute the final assignment for the course. Students may make or finalize their selection at any point during the course as long as it is first cleared with the instructor.