What is social policy?
Social policy has its origins in the development of the state welfare system in the 1940s and relates to what William Beveridge identified as the five pillars of the welfare state; health, education, social security, housing and employment. However, since the 1940s this original meaning has now widened considerably to acknowledge other social aspects of modern life, such as basic level of income and consumer legislation. Social policy is now a term used to refer to guidelines, principles, legislation and activities that affect the living conditions conducive to human welfare.
Scrutinising policies, procedure or legislation can reveal inconsistencies or unfairness towards certain groups. This might be a result of the implementation of a policy in one area which has unintended consequences in another. For example,
- government policy or reform designed to enable a stable economy might create poverty,
- cuts made within one government department might create a high and uncoordinated pressure on another, or
- legislation allowing enforcement of debt, representing creditors’ rights might allow an adverse impact on debtors’ rights to privacy and basic needs.
Social Policy for Money Advisers
Social policy in the context of money advice is about applying pressure to manipulate policy, procedure or legislation relating to the stages of the debt advice process and personal finance which adversely affect people in debt. For example, these might connect to welfare benefits, tax credits, housing, employment, finance, banking, consumer credit or the courts.
The object of attention for modern day money advice social policy work tends to be national or local government, public bodies, trade bodies and financial services institutions.