POLI06005 2017 Policy Making & the Policy Process

General Details

Full Title
Policy Making & the Policy Process
Transcript Title
Policy Processes
80 %
Subject Area
POLI - Policy Studies
SOCS - Social Sciences
06 - NFQ Level 6
10 - 10 Credits
Start Term
2017 - Full Academic Year 2017-18
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Martha Doyle, Sinead Barrins
Programme Membership
SG_HJOIN_H08 201700 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Humanities in Joint Majors: Sociology and Politics SG_HJOIN_H08 201900 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Humanities in Joint Majors: Sociology and Politics SG_HJOIN_H08 202100 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Humanities in Joint Majors: Sociology and Politics

This module provides an understanding of social policy and the policy making processes. It will explore the meaning and nature of social policy and welfare and how this has evolved since the conception of the welfare state in post-industrialist societies. Key theoretical writings on topics, such as power, rights, redistribution, equality and equity, citizenship and social justice will be discussed, debated and critically examined. Students will be equipped with an understanding of the evolving organisation and delivery of welfare and the notion of welfare pluralism, considering the role of the public, private, voluntary and informal sector. Theories relating to policy formulation and implementation including, the themes of ‘new public management’, the shift from government to governance and the internationalisation of social policy will be reviewed and discussed. Throughout the module reference will be made to current social policy debates in Ireland to gain an applied understanding of the theoretical issues discussed in class.


Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Understand the importance and significance of ideological, political, cultural and economic influences on the development of policy


Appreciate the differing interpretation of social problems and the influencing factors on ensuing responses


Identify the key underlying concepts of social policy


Understand and distinguish between different approaches to policy analysis and implementation


Critically explore key policy issues related to welfare and social policy debates in contemporary Ireland.


Understand the key concepts relating to the organisation and delivery of welfare.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching and learning strategies will include incorporate principles of UDL, incorporating role play, case studies, group discussion, small group activities, class field trip with the supports of the IT’s VLE.

Module Assessment Strategies

There are two assessment components to this module:

  • Case Study: (50%) The students will undertake a case study examining a contemporary policy issue.
  • Exam (50%)

Repeat Assessments

Repeat assessment will be developed based on failed component. 

Indicative Syllabus

Conceptualising policy and welfare

What is social policy? What do we mean by policy analysis? What is the welfare state and what are the aims and functions of a welfare strategy? What is the relationship between ideology and social welfare and what do we mean by, right and left views of welfare? What are the different welfare typologies?

Problems and Responses

What is a Social Problem? How is a social problem constructed? What paradigms are used to interpret a problem? How problem definition and policy development, influenced by political, economic, cultural, demographic and social factors?

The organisation and Delivery of Welfare

What is the social division of welfare, what do we mean by welfare pluralism, and what is the role of the public, private, voluntary and informal sector in social policy/welfare provision.

Policy Formulation

What do we mean by agenda setting, policy formulation and decision making? What are the respective roles of politicians and civil servants in relation to the policy formulation process? How do policy analysis models, such as, Rational Theory Model, Incrementalist Theory Model, Public Choice Theory, New Public Management and Policy Discourse Approaches inform our understanding of policy formulation and implementation?

Internationalisation of social policy

Can we speak of the globalisation of social policy? Is policy transfer important? How do institutions such as the EU and international bodies, such as the OECD, World Bank, World Health Organisation and United Nations shape social policy at the nation state level?

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
100 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Assessment Continuous Assessment Assessment 100 % Week 12 1,2,3,4,5,6

End of Semester / Year Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Exam Final Exam Assessment 50 % End of Semester 1,2,3,4,5,6

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Lecture Lecture Theatre Lecture 6 Weekly 6.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 6.00 Hours

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources

Parsons, W. (1995), Public Policy: An Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Policy Analysis. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited

Alcock, P., May, M., and Rowlingson, K. (eds) (2008): The Student's Companion to Social Policy (3 rd Edition). London: Blackwell Press.

Considine, M. and Dukelow, F. (2009): Irish Social Policy: a critical introduction. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan.

Kennedy, Patricia. (2013) Key Themes in Social Policy. London: Routledge

Lister, R. (2010). Understanding Theories and Concepts in Social Policy. University of Bristol: Policy Press

Sealey, C. (2015). Social Policy Simplified: Connecting Theory with Peoples Lives. UK: Palgrave

Spicker, P. (2008) Social Policy, themes and approaches. London: Prentice Hall.