Social policy analysis

• Select an area of social policy. Describe the nature of the social problem within that area of policy. How has it been presented by governments and by NGOs? What policy responses and services have been provided to deal with this problem? Are there other ways of responding to the problem?

It is important to use a variety of sources –government reports, policies and statements, submissions from NGOs, articles, books and websites. You must use AT LEAST ONE government report, or a report or submission from a peak body or NGO.
The policy i choose is Poverty

Poverty (you might choose a particular group, like women, Indigenous people, recent immigrants)

Introduction Briefly introduce the social policy area and mention the main points and direction of your argument. State your position.

Describe the social problem
• Why is it a problem? To whom? For how long has it been of concern?
• Particular events that led to the concerns?
• Use of statistics to illustrate nature and extent of problem – use demographic information (gender, age, city versus rural areas)
• What are its social causes (or, how can we understand it sociologically?)
• Is it specifically to do with Australian society? Is it a ‘western’ problem?

Representation of the social problem
• How has the problem been represented by governments and other groups (e.g. community groups/ parents’ groups, academics, private industry/ advertising – e.g. childhood obesity, people with whom the problem is identified)?
• Different perspectives – values/ attitudes (community, family, market, state)
• Different interests and agendas? Here you might also consider what discourses are at play in the different ways that the social problem has been constructed i.e. neo-liberal ideas; arguments about free will and choice; social democratic arguments about citizen rights, and social obligations; ideas about gender, the family, the self… etc

Policy responses
• What policies and services have been put in place to deal with the problem?
• Describe these policies/ services – offered by state, federal or local governments? (E.g., National policy initiatives)
• Solutions offered by ‘private’ enterprises?
• Range of services offered to deal with the problem

Could it be handled differently?
Here is the opportunity for you to exercise your critical faculties and your knowledge of social policy – Can you suggest better ways for the social problem to be addressed?

Remember to conclude your essay. Sum up the main points of your argument.

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