Social Policy: Definition, Concept, Source, Model & Assumptions

Topics: Sociology, Social work, Public policy Pages: 5 (1453 words) Published: February 1, 2012
Social Policy
The Oxford dictionary defined SP as ‘settled course of action followed and adopted by the government or a political party’. The word policy refers to the particular course of action followed because it happens to be useful for the time being whereas social refers to anything that got to do with the society and its betterment. SP can be defined as a series of public policies designed to promote social development, undertaken by a variety of actors through a range of instruments. Social policy has both intrinsic and instrumental value; intrinsic in terms of creating equality of opportunity, and instrumental in terms of strengthening the legitimacy of public institutions and social integration. According to Levin (1997): SP refers to the practice of social intervention aimed at securing social change to promote the welfare and wellbeing of citizens. Social Work Dictionary (1991): SP as the activities and principles of society that guide the way it intervenes in and regulates relationships between individuals, groups, communities, and social institutions….. SP includes plans and programs in education, health care, crime and corrections, economic security, and social welfare made by governments, voluntary organizations, and the people in general. While summarizing the whole discussion, it can be said that social policy is a deliberate action on the part of individuals, collectivities and governments, undertaken to organize services, opportunities and social action so as to affect the life styles of people and initiate a process to prevent, postpone, initiate and manage change. Thus SP is

* A subject as well as an area of practice
* An instrument (used by the govt to regulate and supplement the existing instt and structure) * Plays distributional and redistributive role
* Transfer of resources from one section to the other within the society * It concern with the weaker and vulnerable section of the society, welfare in nature * Co-exist among other policies

Objectives of Social Policy:
* Social Change (Prohibition of Dowry)
* Social Integration (no caste/sex discrimination, quota system) * Improvement of the quality of life
* Reduce cost of welfare
(Haq, 1976: the aim of SP in the third world should be stated as the preservation of the very life itself and not as the improvement of the quality of life which presumes that the basic survival needs have been met) Assumptions: (Armitage, 1998)

* The govt has responsibility to meet the needs of the less fortunate members of society; * The state has a right to intervene in areas of individual freedom and economic liberty * Governmental and or public intervention is necessary when existing social institutions fail to fulfil their obligations; and * Public policies create social impacts, the consequences of which become the moral obligation of some group to act upon; Scope:

By tradition, SP has been concerned with social welfare provision of the state, it address real world social problems in a prescriptive rathr than a description way. According to Devereux and Cook (2000), the five ‘S’ are (5S): 1. Social Sectors (Health, education, water and sanitation, housing) 2. Social Insurance (pension, unemployment benefits, disability/old age/widow pensions) 3. Social Services (Care for orphans, destitute, old age home, mental asylum) 4. Social Protection (Food Subsidy, reservation system)

5. Social Rights (right of children, women, labourer)
Sources of Social Policy in India:
The four most important sources of social policy in India are: 1. Constitution: The constitution of india, as a source of social policies can be divided into two viz. the fundamental rights and the directive principles. 2. Legislation: social legislation refers to laws designed to improve and protect the economic and social position of those groups in the society. To achieve the ends of social justice, social legislation is...
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