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HNC Public Services

UCAS code: 
Institution code: 
East Coast College (Lowestoft)


One year.

Typical Offer: 

2023-24 and 2024-25 entry; 60 UCAS tariff points (or above), CC (A-Level), MM (BTEC), Pass A*-C (T Level).




This course is delivered at East Coast College’s Lowestoft campus – a multi-million investment has transformed the campus and the experience for students.

Students studying the HNC Public Services programme are likely to have progressed from a level 3 Public Services programme and will have approximately 12 contact hours per week. The year is divided into two 15 week semesters, of which 12 are teaching weeks, with 3 per semester devoted to assessment activities and preparation for Assessment Boards. The contact hours will be a mix of class sessions (lecture, seminar), practical activities, developmental workshop sessions and tutorials. Students will normally be expected to undertake a minimum of a further 20 hours of independent study in an average week, but should be prepared for this to vary based on assignment deadlines and class exercises

This Edexcel/Pearson Higher National Certificate has been approved for delivery by the University of Suffolk, under whose frameworks, policies and procedures it is offered, in line with requirements for such courses. Pearson BTEC Higher National qualifications are designated as Higher Education qualifications in the UK and are aligned to the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) Subject Benchmarks. These qualifications are part of the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF)

Course modules

Organisational Structures and Culture

This unit will introduce students to the concept of organisational behaviour and encourage them to apply this to the public services, developing an awareness of how the public services are organised and the impact this has on performance. On successful completion of this unit, students will have discussed types of organisation structure and culture; explored the impact of levels of government and monitoring organisations on the public services; investigated approaches to management in the public sector; and assessed the relationship between motivation, organisational behaviour, performance and reflection.

Mental Health and Wellbeing

This unit will provide an opportunity for students to explore definitions of mental health and mental wellbeing, encouraging them to discuss mental wellbeing as a continuum. They will look at the complex range of factors that influence mental health and review the influences on it, including the interrelation of physical and mental health as well as social, psychological and environmental factors. By the end of this unit, students will have developed skills in independent and collaborative research, and an understanding of the risk and protective factors influencing mental health and wellbeing.

Equality, Diversity and Fair Treatment

This unit will provide an opportunity to critically evaluate organisational policies and practices used to support equality, diversity and fair treatment within a public service context. Students will investigate how fair treatment, equality and diversity has been approached by public services organisations and the impact policy and legislation has had on the development of service provision. By the end of this unit, students will develop an understanding of why discrimination has no place within the public services, both internally and externally.

Public Services in Contemporary Society

This unit is assessed by a Pearson-set assignment, and will provide an opportunity to develop an in-depth knowledge of how public services have developed over time. This information is key to a student’s progression to employment within the public services as employers value applicants who understand the development of their sector.  On successful completion of this unit students will have developed a deep understanding of how public services operate within contemporary society, be able to research, interpret and analyse a range of data which is focused on a particular area of interest.

Integrated Emergency Management

This unit is designed to develop students’ understanding of types of emergency incident and the role of the public services at every stage, from planning and preparedness to response and recovery. On successful completion of this unit, students will have examined the role of emergency responders and relevant legislation, explored the importance of planning and preparedness for emergency incidents, investigated how emergency incidents are managed by the public services, and analysed the public service response to real-world emergency incidents.

Modern Warfare and Conflict

Modern Warfare and Conflict will give great scope for not only individuals seeking a military path but also within the police where collaboration between the various public services has increased in recent years. Inclusion of this unit will give students an increased grounding into the difficult careers they are pursuing.

Personal and Professional Development

This unit will enable students to explore and develop a range of skills and qualities that will be used both personally and professionally. Students will focus on approaches to improve their performance as self-directed students. On successful completion of this unit, students will able to identify development opportunities and enhance self-management skills.

Technology in the Public Services

Technology in the Public Services could be a highly beneficial unit for all students as the public services has seen a considerable advancement in this field in recent years and this could be vital knowledge for students to take into future interviews and early years of their public service careers.

Career opportunities

This is intended to provide a vocationally-based level 4 programme of study for those seeking progression from level 3 who are seeking to improve their career choices.

On completion of the HNC Public Services, students may progress their careers in the public services sector through entering employment, committing to Continuing Professional Development or continuing their studies into level 5.

The course presents study areas identified as requirements of employers in the local area and beyond to provide a broad skills base to students and equip them for employment or further study.

Fees and finance


  • UK full-time tuition fee: £6,168 p.a

Further Information

At University of Suffolk, your tuition fees provide access to all the usual teaching and learning facilities that you would expect. However, there may be additional costs associated with your course that you will need to budget for.  

Entry requirements

Facilities and Resources

Public services programmes are delivered the sport and public services building and have access to the on-site gym and facilities. Free use of the college gym