Social work and social policy where how to pitch the training
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Social Work and Social Policy: Where & How to Pitch the Training ?

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Social Work and Social Policy: Where & How to Pitch the Training?

  • Teaching social policy to social work undergraduates, so that they develop the ability to operate at this level of intervention, is a challenge. This presentation outlines these challenges. The reason why emphasis is given to analysis, values and the political arena will be explained. The difficulties experienced in widening students’ view will be highlighted and the ways attempted to address this shared for workshop participants to comment on and discuss.

    Gill Raja, UNIMAS

Why Social Policy?

  • Reforming Role of Social Work

  • Social Justice

  • Prevention / Increasing Opportunity & Well-being –

    Reaching the masses – not an elite few

  • Social Development

  • Titmus – Pioneer of Social Policy as an academic field

    of study and action – saw Social Workers as key


  • Social Workers society’s “Barometer” for social problems

  • Advocacy & Empowering Role


  • Student exposure generally low

  • Social Policy Debate – exists but is not common.

  • Reflects Political Culture within Country& probably expectations

    of government servants including social workers employed by


  • Social Policy Texts – reflect context in other countries

  • Need to find ways to constructively discuss sensitive issues

  • Few role models of how to take on social workers role

    in policy development and discussion.

  • Need to explain role: provide knowledge & skills to

    help them analyse and see the processes: articulate social

    workers value base whilst respecting differences between

    students and encourage them to have their own views. Important

    not to indoctrinate but to foster their independent thought & see


  • All this in one course!! How to develop across programme


  • Starting where the “client” is at but needing to expand horizons & show connections to knowledge already taught (e.g introduction to politics: law: macro role in social work)

  • Locating in their world yet needing to broaden to help them understand major themes in social policy internationally and then showing the link to what is happening in-country (eg left/right)


  • Broad Definition of Social Policy

  • Analysis not just knowing what is there

  • Processes – including history to implementation & evaluation

  • Stakeholders

  • Political Arena

  • Power Dynamics

  • Privatisation /Public Services options/mix

  • Universal v Selective debates

  • Global Social Policy

  • Comparative - framework to help analysis


  • Multiple-angles : Theme expressed repeatedly

  • What is Truth? – showing the complexity

  • What is Fair? – appreciating different perspectives on this

  • Contemporary Issues – bring in to classroom (eg minimum wage: )

  • Encourage discussion in and out of lecture room

  • Encourage engagement with media – try to develop the habit of reading newspapers on-line. Use news articles for tutorial discussion: background reading (eg budget tabled during course)

  • Linking to SW Agenda

Values/Principles from SW viewpoint

  • Social Justice

  • Social Inclusion

  • Tackling inequality

  • Accessibility

  • Anti-Discriminatory/Anti-Oppressive/Human Rights

  • Humanitarian Principles

  • Democratic Debate and Decision Making

  • Protection of Minorities

  • Reflection on own values plus role and agency function

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