module specification

SS4017 - Introducing Social Policy (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Introducing Social Policy
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 300
219 hours Guided independent study
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 30%   Short answers 1500 words total
Coursework 40%   Essay 2000 words
Coursework 30%   Short answers 1500 words total
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Friday Morning

Module summary

To explain the development and functioning of different models of social policy in the West and to explore key themes and issues in social policy in the UK over recent decades, mapping the ascendance of the neoliberal model and the decline of the classic welfare state.


1. Social Policy and the Welfare State  
2. Needs, Rights, Outcomes   
3. Policy Making and Government  
4. Economic Policy and Resources  
5. Production, Provision, Delivery, Implementation
6. Benefits and Pensions    
7. Healthcare     
8. Social Care     
9. School Education    
10. Housing
11. Race Equality     
12. Disability     
13. Gender Equality     
14. Childcare, Child Protection   
15. Social Policy before 1900    
16. 1890s to 1930s    
17. 1940s to 1970s     
18. 1980s to the present: The Neoliberal Era
19. Welfare States Beyond the UK   
20. Social Policy and ‘Developing Societies’

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Teaching: weekly lectures followed by exercises and reflexive discussion in seminars,  based on data and key texts
Learning: Learning is supported by the WebLearn site for the module which includes lecture notes, seminar exercises, newspaper articles and longer articles and links to relevant web sites.
The lecture notes and seminar exercises are used as the initial basis for tackling a topic, but  students are encouraged to go beyond  these in preparing coursework

Learning outcomes

1. analyse reflectively the concepts of  ‘social policy’ and the ‘welfare state’
2. describe and analyse major policy developments in key sectors of social policy in the UK
3. identify and describe the impact of social movements and ideologies on social policy outcomes in addressing inequalities and injustices
4. describe and analyse the shift from a public service model of delivery towards a quasi-privatised model
5. identify and describe the key features of the historical development of social policy in the UK and of different global approaches to the welfare state

Assessment strategy

1. Coursework addressing learning outcome 1 due in week 9: five short answers
2. 1500 essay due week  22 addressing learning outcomes 2, 3 and 4
3. Coursework addressing learning outcome 5 due week 29: five short answers


Where possible, the most current version of reading materials is used during the delivery of this module.  Comprehensive reading lists are provided to students in their handbooks.  Reading Lists will be updated annually. Additional reading is also made available by topic on Weblearn.

Core Reading:

Alcock, P. et al (2016) Student’s Companion to Social Policy, 5th edition, Wiley 
Additional Reading:
Alcock, P. (2014) Social Policy in Britain, 4th edition, Palgrave Macmillan
Bochel, H. et al (2009) Social Policy: Themes, Issues & Debates, 2nd edition, Pearson
Bochel, H and G. Daly (2014) Social Policy, 3rd edition, Routledge