An introduction to Social Policy
This website is an introduction to the study of social services and the welfare state. In general terms, it looks at the idea of social welfare, and its relationship to politics and society. More specifically, it also considers:
This site is a free, educational resource outlining the main issues.
The name of 'social policy' is used to refer to the policies which governments use for welfare and social protection, to the ways in which welfare is developed in a society, and to the academic study of the subject. In the first sense, social policy is particularly concerned with social services and the welfare state. In the second, broader sense, it stands for a range of issues extending far beyond the actions of government - the means by which welfare is promoted, and the social and economic conditions which shape the development of welfare.
The idea of need refers at times to problems, at other times to the responses that services might make; for practical purposes, a need is a claim for service. This section looks at some of the main categories of need that lead people to rely on social service provision.
Poverty has often been described in terms of low income and resources, but this does not capture the huge range of issues which it touches. 'Poverty' may refer to material conditions - needing goods and services, multiple deprivation, or a low standard of living; economic position - low income, limited resources, inequality or low social class; and the social position of the poor, through lack of entitlement, dependency or social exclusion.
Several pages on this website deal more specifically with the social services - systems of organisation that deal with essential needs for health care, housing, education, social work and financial support.
This site has not been set up as an introduction to British social services, but there are sections in many pages which can be read as an introduction to British social policy.
Information about this site.
Some advice about studying social policy, and where to find other material.