MPP Systems Course Resource Page

Ross Anderson

This is a web page of resources for the systems course in the Cambridge Masters in Public Policy degree.

Joining: The initial briefing was on Thursday Jan 14 at 1400 at the Computer Lab, in room FW11; here are the slides. The deadline for handing in case history coursework will be February 28th. Coursework should be emailed directly to me as pdf files.

Subsequent schedule: After the initial briefing there were a series of seminars. Nick Hunn talked about the problems of the smart meter project on January 21st (his slides are here); Tom Loosemore described what the Government Digital Service is doing to make project failures less likely on February 11th; and Veronica Marshall, formerly of the National Audit Office, talked about the failure of the Universal Credit system on February 18th (her slides are here). Finally, the students will present their project work on March 3rd.

Projects: The bulk of the course work consists of researching and writing a case history of systems failure in the public sector. Students will be assigned to teams of about four, each of which will be given a specific system failure as its topic, after the briefing meeting. An exemplars, here are two case histories that won the class prize:

Background reading: The report of the inquiry into the failure of the London Ambulance Service can be found here; the Curtis, Krasner and Iscoe paper is here; Harold Thimbleby's paper on safety usability failures in medical devices is here; and see here for Fred Brooks' article No silver bullet.