the study of social issues, social problems, social groups, social services and the experiences of users.” In this sense, it deals with principles, guidelines, legislations and activities that affect the well-being of society and the society’s responses to social needs. Social policy thus influences distribution and access to society’s resources. It includes areas such as healthcare, education, social security, unemployment insurance, pensions, housing, child protection as well as crime and criminal justice.
Social policy is vital to health and social work professions. Social work (Morgan 2011: 37) is “working towards removing physical or psychological barriers to understanding and satisfying diverse people’s social needs.” The health and social workers need to understand and have up-to-date knowledge of social policy developments since it sets the legal framework under which these practitioners operate. The social work practice is thus influenced, constrained and directed by laws derived from social policies and legal action can be taken if health or social workers do not comply with such laws (Dickens 2010). Since social policy is very complex and influenced by local, national and international laws such as the Social Chapter of the European Union, such professionals need constant upgrading and adapting to changes.
Morgan, A. (2011). ‘Diverse service users and diverse workers: the impact of globalization. In: Janet,S., Sarah, M., Mick, M., Alun, M. Professional development in social work: complex issues in practice. Abingdon: