Implementing Social Policy: From Principles to Practice

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Stephen Mangen OLD2.62


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Social Policy, BSc in Social Policy and Criminology, BSc in Social Policy and Economics, BSc in Social Policy and Sociology and BSc in Social Policy with Government. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

The course is divided into three parts. The first deals with various approaches to theorising about the state in terms of what each implies for its role in interventions in the area of collective social welfare and the social values on which these are based.

Particular attention is played to the interplay between preferences for interventions by the state, the individual and family and the market. The second part deals with issues involved in translating these values and policies into practice - the implementation of social policy. Concepts like need, entitlement, solidarity, merit and redistribution are addressed. The final part examines evidence of the economic and social impact of policies in selected welfare areas.


10 hours of lectures and 9 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 2 hours of classes in the ST.

Formative coursework

Each student will be required to submit an essay to the class teacher at the end of the MT and LT. Students will be required to give individual and group presentations in class.

Indicative reading

A detailed reading list will be provided for each class. In advance, students are recommended to consult the following: V George & P Wilding, Welfare and Ideology; M Hill, The Policy Process: A Reader; M O'Brien & S Penna, Theorising Welfare; P Dunleavy & B O'Leary, Theories of the State; C Pierson & F G Castles, The Welfare State: a reader. Those new to social policy should begin with H Dean, Social Policy: Short Introductions, 2005 or P Alcock et al, The Student's Companion to Social Policy, 3rd Edn. 2008; J Baldock et al, Social Policy (3rd edn), 2007; G Esping-Andersen, The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism, especially chapters 1-3; P Spicker Social Policy: Themes and Approaches, 2008


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.

Student performance results

(2010/11 - 2012/13 combined)

Classification % of students
First 5
2:1 44.2
2:2 41.7
Third 6.7
Fail 2.5

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2012/13: 44

Average class size 2012/13: 16

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information