Social policy influences individuals and communities in all aspects of everyday life and is indicative of how the state addresses social problems and social need. This unit of study introduces students to the identification and construction of social problems; contemporary Australian social policy, and theoretical frameworks that inform policymaking, implementation and review. Social policy is a key intervention used in social work for facilitating social change with regard to income security, employment, housing, education, health and community services, and the social effects of climate change. Students use skills in research and critical thinking to identify and analyse contemporary public debates about social issues/problems, and present these debates in ways that promote social inclusion, equality and empowerment in social work practice.

Unit details

Online Real Time
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192 Credit Points (Core ABSW Year 1 and Year 2)

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Articulate and analyse the role of social policy in addressing social problems and social change;  
  2. Synthesise and apply knowledge about the Australian social policy cycle with reference to contemporary social issues;  
  3. Critically analyse contemporary Australian social policies using theoretical frameworks; and  
  4. Articulate the links between social issues, social policy and social change from a social work perspective.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Test Structured questions on theory of a policy (1 hour) 20%
Report Writing a policy brief (2,500 words) 50%
Presentation Developing and presenting a policy proposal (1,500 words) 30%
To gain a pass in this unit students must attain a minimum overall grade of 50% and attempt and submit all assessment tasks, as each assessment task covers discrete areas of knowledge and skill required for the successful completion of the social work course.

Where to next?

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

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