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: On-campus (Sydney)
Core/elective: Core

Unit Description

This unit takes students to an advanced understanding of social policy practices and skills aimed at influencing policy outcomes. Revisiting the social policy framework and process from SWSP1043 Government, Public Policy and Civil Society, students will explore how to implement social policy skills across the sector. This unit will involve a small project linking theory with practice.

Unit Workload

The workload for this unit is 9 hours per week. This includes timetabled class time and private study time.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Apply social policy processes to social issues.
  2. Undertake social policy research and analysis.
  3. Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of at least one major area of social policy and strategies for influencing its review.
  4. Appreciate the socio-political and cultural context for policy development and their influence on the policy process.
  5. Articulate the relationship between social policy, social research and social work practice.

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.


Recommended Text

  • Fawcett, B., Goodwin, S., Meagher, G., & Phillips, R. (2010). Social policy for social change. South Yarra, Australia: Palgrave Macmillan.

Recommended Readings

  • Baldock, J. (2010). Social policy (4th ed.). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
  • Becker, S., Bryman, A., & Ferguson, H. (Eds.) (2012). Understanding research for social policy and social work: Themes methods and approaches (2nd ed.). Bristol, England: The Policy Press.
  • Carson, E., & Kerr, L. (2014). Australian social policy and the human services. Port Melbourne, Australia: Cambridge University Press.
  • Cooper, A., Ruck, G., & Lymbery, M. (2008). Social work: An introduction to contemporary practice. London, England: Pearson Education.
  • Cunningham, S., & Cunningham, J. (2012). Social policy and social work: An introduction. Los Angeles, CA: Learning Matters.
  • Jamrozik, A. (2009). Social policy in the post-welfare state: Australian society in a changing world. Frenchs Forest, Australia: Pearson Education Australia.
  • McCelland, A., & Smyth, P. (2009). Social policy in Australia: Understanding for action. South Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press.
  • Reisch, M. (2014). Social policy and social justice. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications.


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

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 http://currentstudents.acap.edu.au/assets/Managing-My-Course/A-Z-Policies/Academic-Misconduct-Policy.pdf for full details of the Academic Misconduct Policy.


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.