About Social Policy
WHAT ARE POLICIES?
A policy is an agreed-upon way of doing things according to particular principles. Policies reflect the views and priorities of the people or groups that develop them. Policies are intended to respond to recurring problems and situations, and to achieve particular objectives. Over time, policies should be re-examined, and changed as circumstances change and new information is considered.
WHAT IS SOCIAL POLICY? WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Governments make policies, to guide decisions and actions. Social policy is concerned with the overall well-being of people.
When decisions are made affecting our futures, we should ask: will this improve or worsen conditions and opportunities for people in our region? Of course, it’s easy to think only of particular groups. But it’s necessary to consider the circumstances and needs of the mix of peoples and organizations in the Cowichan Valley.
WHAT IS A SOCIAL POLICY FRAMEWORK? WHY IS IT NECESSARY?
A social planning framework is a road map or blueprint, that provides an outline to guides decision-making. It’s a set of guidelines for including social concerns in all policies that affect people. One guideline is to consider a kind of triple “bottom line”: social well-being, health of the environment, and economic stability. Each affects and is affected by the other two.
A social policy framework provides a comprehensive way of thinking about and responding to social issues, and to the social impacts of change. The aim should be to promote the well-being and quality of life of all citizens. A social policy framework also defines the role of government in making this happen.
Policy frameworks can be effective in supporting the alignment of policies and practices. At the centre of decision-making should be a guiding framework of ideas, goals, and expectations. A social policy framework would improve the process of developing social policy, and the results of such policies.
A social policy framework is a document intended for use over the long term. It would include a statement of vision, a set of principles, and some large-scale goals. It could also identify the various roles of government sectors and ministries, explain how results will be assessed, and how it will all happen.
In developing this framework and in regularly assessing decisions, a serious effort has to be made to inform and include as many local people and groups as possible. Consultation must be broad, and allow for continued back-and-forth conversation.
A social policy framework should be developed through a broad process of consultation, so as to reflect the values and ideas of community members. An overarching framework should clearly indicate who at the has responsibility for what, as well as priorities and goals. It would also identify the various roles of organizations and agencies, explain how results will be assessed, and how it will all happen. With a social policy framework, resources could be focused more effectively on complex issues.
Fundamentally, social policy is concerned with the well-being of people. A social policy framework would function as a common reference point for all those involved in the creation of social policy, delivery of programs and services, and assessment. A social policy framework will address the challenges facing our community and improve the well-being of everyone.