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SWSP3013 Influencing Policy and Practice

Level: Bachelor
Credit Points: Six
Prerequisites: Successful completion of a minimum of four Level 200 units
Mode(s) of Delivery: Online
Core/Elective: Core

Unit Description

This unit introduces students to the process of policy development within an organisational setting. You will have an opportunity to become familiar with a range of current methodologies for policy development, develop a policy proposal, present your proposal to a service provider and or fellow students and work towards the development of a policy position in collaboration with service users and staff. Students will be assigned to one of two streams (ageing/juvenile justice) and will be required to get an excellent grasp of past and current policy initiatives within their stream.  Working in groups, you will be required to research, implement, and draft a policy paper and present your work to service users and management as part of your assessment. This unit of study has a practical component which will enable students to develop their policy development skills within a workplace setting. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the benefits and disadvantages of different policy development methodologies.

Unit Workload

The unit includes twelve sessions of 3 hours of class time. Depending on the delivery mode, this unit’s content is delivered to students via

  • A weekly 3 hour learning session [via Zoom]. One hour will be didactive material delivered in lecture format. Two hours will be interactive class time, for discussion of the lecture, readings, assessments and class activities

The unit is based on three four-weekly blocks. The class time during the first block will be used for interactions with students to facilitate discussion of unit materials, assessments, presentations and group activities. The class time during the second block will involve the development of policy statements, liaison with service users and staff, and critical analysis of the political context. The last block will involve the drafting of policy papers and the presentation of your work to a) fellow students and b) to agency service users and staff. 

Course material will be available in the online class space. In addition to the 3 hours of class time, students are expected to engage in 6 hours of private study per week.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate working knowledge of policy development, its philosophy, theories, practice context and skills.
  2. Acknowledge how diversity and differences within and across communities add to the complexity of policy development and the relevance of anti-oppressive theory and practice.
  3. Critically reflect upon the potential of collaborative alliances and use of these alliances in the policy development process.
  4. Review and analyse how the dynamics of power and influence can be used in policy development seeking professional practice change.
  5. Reflect upon and evaluate examples of innovative policy development processes applicable to ageing and juvenile justice.
  6. Demonstrate practical skills for policy development, including liaison with key stakeholders and collaborative approaches.
  7. Engage with service users and staff, learn from their experience, and bring their expertise to bear on the policy development process
  8. Demonstrate policy development skills by completing a policy development project and reflecting on its success/outcome.

Learning and Teaching Approach

  1. Learning is an active process – which involves both questioning and challenging.
  2. Learning is a shared process – where others’ thoughts and ideas are presented, critically analysed, exchanged and respected.
  3. Learning is a collaborative and empowering process for self and others.
  4. Learning is thoughtful and reflective.
  5. Learning requires integration with prior knowledge and other arenas of knowledge development in the program.
  6. Preparation for lectures and seminars and reading the recommended texts and references is essential.

The content of this unit has been designed to maximise both online and face-to-face learning to integrate the subject matter.

Students are expected to:

  • Complete all activities
  • Complete readings
  • Complete all assessments
  • Attend all classes

It is also recommended that students:

  • Keep a record of new terminology that is introduced in this unit
  • Keep a copy of assessments and other correspondence
  • Make notes on unit content and readings

There will be learning activities linked to all lecture materials which are designed to encourage students to deliberate and reflect and to provide opportunities for further learning. The activities are designed to help students think through and practise the specific skills and general concepts presented in this unit as well as provide valuable learning opportunities.


Prescribed Text

  • Fawcett, B., Goodwin, S., Meagher, G., Phillips, R. (2010). Social Policy for Social Change.Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Bacchi, C. L., & Goodwin, S. (2016).Poststructural Policy Analysis : A Guide to Practice.Palgrave Pivot.

Recommended Readings

  • Alcock, P., May, M., & Rowlingson, K. (2016). The Student's Companion to Social Policy (5th ed.).  Blackwell Publishing.
  • Anonymous (2016). Co-Design: Shared Perspectives on authentic co-design. Mountain View: The Co-Design Initiative. Retrieved from:
  • Becker, S., & Bryman, A. (2012). Evidence-based policy and practice. In S. Becker, A. Bryman, H. Ferguson (Eds). Understanding Research For Social Policy and Social Work: Themes, Methods, and Approaches (pp. 28-54).  Policy Press.


  • ADVANCES: Journal of Social Work and Welfare Education
  • Australian Journal of Social Issues
  • Australian Social Work
  • Critical Social Work
  • Journal of Social Work (UK)
  • Journal of Social Work Education (USA)

Academic Misconduct

Ethical conduct and academic integrity and honesty are fundamental to the mission of ACAP. Academic misconduct will not be tolerated by the college. Please refer to the Academic Misconduct Policy for full details.


This unit outline may be updated and amended from time to time. To ensure you have the correct outline please check it again at the beginning of the trimester. For a list of required textbooks for the upcoming trimester, please click here.