We mean by this the set of decisions issued by the various competent bodies, which clarify binding trends in the various fields.
Prof. Dr. Ahmed Kamal Ahmed defines social policy as: “The set of decisions issued by the competent authorities in society to achieve its general social goals. These decisions clarify areas of social care, binding trends, work style and objectives within the limits of society’s ideology. And a group of interdependent and integrated social projects.
From this definition the following becomes clear:
- A social policy is a set of decisions issued by bodies that have the authority to do so.
- The social policy clarifies the areas of social care, ie the fields, categories and times appropriate for that.
- That social policy must be comprehensive and clear.
- That social policy can be national, regional and local.
- And that the way in which policy is defined and drawn in modern societies is the method of planning in drawing up a new policy or modifying an already existing policy.
- Social policy uses various means of communication and the media to disseminate and spread that policy.
Through the above, we can define the concept of social policy in a procedural manner that includes the essence of social policy in the following:
- Social policy represents political processes that depend on the intervention of state power.
- Social policy is the process of making decisions related to society’s goals.
- Social policy is linked to the ideology of society.
- Social policy defines the different areas of social welfare.
- Multilevel social policy is the policy of a sector or a system.
- Social policy includes governmental and civil efforts together in social welfare programs.
- Social policy is based on the use of a scientific method that determines social needs.
- Social policy is a common process.
- That these processes result from the social needs of the members of society.
Second: The importance of defining social policy and its functions:
Hence, we can determine the importance of social policy as follows:
- It illustrates a level of intellectual and mental coordination between the various social programs and efforts.
- They represent the areas of work, trends and the style of those in charge of planning and implementation matters.
- It completes the successive efforts as a result of unifying the remote target.
- It helps planners in setting priorities for setting social plans.
- It gives human meanings to executive efforts, as it links philosophy with ethical principles and values.
- Through social policy, it is possible to achieve the best possible investment of the available human, material and organizational resources in society.
- Defining the social policy contributes to regulating the interrelationships between the existing social systems.
- Through social policy it is possible to satisfy the maximum of the individuals’ needs in society.
Functions of social policy:
There are many functions achieved by social policy in achieving comprehensive development in society and can be identified in the following functions:
Developmental function : It gives a privileged position to the human role in development, and this function includes supporting and strengthening the family.
The protective function : It is directed towards the groups that may be vulnerable to negative influence in the foreseeable future of the development process.
The therapeutic function : It is directed especially to some disadvantaged groups, which are called in relation to marginal groups such as neglected children and the elderly.
The integrative function : which was considered by the United Nations international organization as a fundamental shift in the welfare policy.
Third: Social Policy Goals and Objectives:
The goals and objectives of the social policy clearly emerge if we are able to identify the most important issues and problems that our society is facing at the present time.
Social policy is what answers these issues, the most important of which are:
– The dire increase in the size of the population resulting from the high rates of fertility.
– Despite the tremendous progress in medical treatment and the increase in the average life of the individual, there are those who fall for chronic diseases.
– The existence of disparities in the level of social classes and the services associated with them, which are heading towards industrialization, increasing migration from the countryside to cities, and the emergence of the phenomenon of population concentration.
Which calls for the need for rational methods to face these results.
Following the scope of poverty and the problems arising from poor income distribution.
– The high rate of homelessness in the streets, juvenile delinquency and the increase in crime commission rates.
Fourth: Elements of Social Policy:
The elements of social policy on which specialists and experts unite are represented in the following aspects:
- The prevailing ideology in society.
- Long-term goals for society.
- Areas of social work.
- Binding and organized trends of social work.
Fifth: the pillars of social policy:
Social policy is based on fixed and well-known pillars, and these pillars are the foundations and rules upon which this policy is based, and thus they are the sources from which it derives its entity or the approaches that determine its strength.
Hence, the social policy of the Egyptian society is based on a set of basic pillars, which are:
- Heavenly laws:
- Political and national work charters:
It refers to the political or social charters issued by the state that define the broad framework of the policy pursued by the state, such as the United Nations, as a member of it.
An example of international conventions is the Eighties Charter for the Prevention and Rehabilitation of the Disabled, which states four goals and a set of general goals:
- Implement a program in each country that aims to protect individuals.
- Ensure the provision of rehabilitation services.
- Take all necessary steps to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities.
- Broadcasting information on people with disabilities and their latent preparations.
- the Constitution :
It is the foundation upon which the social and political organization is based, and it is the main source of social laws and legislation. Therefore, every constitution in the world must be an expression of values, customs and matters stemming from the historical roots of society and expressing hopes and aspirations.
- Legislation and laws:
It is the legal base on which society establishes its life affairs, methods of survival, and its continuation and continuation to achieve the social welfare of citizens.
- State ideology:
It refers to the group of ideas and philosophies that determine their trends in the various branches of national action, so they may be communism that abolishes the personality of the individual except within limits imposed on him by opinions, ideas and beliefs.
- Cultural Heritage :
The impact of cultural heritage in determining social policy is evident in countries that have an ancient history, cultural and historical origins, values, standards and behavioral patterns rooted in the depths of thought and behavior.
Sixth: The stages of formulating and defining the social policy:
We can define the basic stages through which a social policy is formulated and defined in society as follows:
- The stage of raising social issues for discussion: where the formulation of social policy begins from the interest of individuals in society or some specific social groups.
- The stage of elaborating and defining these issues: In this stage, sufficient data and information on these issues are provided, and the concerned social organizations participate in this, as well as groups of interested people who may contact some officials in the state.
- The stage of scientific study of issues: In this stage, the leaders of the state apparatus and the technical bodies of social welfare organizations at the national level, scientific research centers, universities and experts intervene to study and analyze these issues.
- The stage of defining the general framework of social policy: At this stage, a set of general social objectives are reached, the achievement of which leads to appropriate solutions to meet social needs and problems.
- The stage of adopting and issuing the social policy: The social policy is approved and issued by the bodies and agencies with authority and authority to make decisions in the state.
Seventh: the relationship between policy and plan:
It can be said that there is a close link between politics and plan within society.
We can define the relationship between the policy and the plan as follows:
- The policy and plan are the product of planning processes that include position determination and study.
- Politics is always wider than the plan.
- The social policy is the guide and the general framework from which development plans are based.
- Long-term social policy goals take a long time to accomplish.
- That the plan has purposes that seek to achieve part of the general objectives of the social policy during the period of the plan.
- It is clear that the policy and the plan go in one process that includes several stages leading to community development, namely:
- Identify the community’s ideology, including its material and intangible beliefs, values, customs and cultures.
- Public policy stems from the ideology of society.
- Strategy is more specific than policy in terms of objectives.
- Planning is the scientific method used in developing the plan and programs based on basic stages:
- Study society and define its goals.
- Determine the framework of the plan.
- Establishing a development plan.
- Implement the plan.
- Monitor and evaluate the plan.
Eighth: The relationship between social policy and social service:
A student of the profession of social service knows very well, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, that social service is no longer just temporary services or operations related to charity to meet basic human needs.
The profession has managed to establish a set of trends for itself, which are undoubtedly rooted in the ideology of society and among the most important trends:
The social worker has become a professional leader that requires a great and distinguished type of professional preparation.
Citizen welfare is linked to the welfare of society.
The welfare of society must be carried out with concern for all societal groups without discrimination, discrimination or neglecting one group over the other.
The local community is the most important community unit.
Social welfare responsibility has become one of the main tasks of governments in modern societies.
From this standpoint, the relationship between the social service profession and social policy is evident and that each affects the other, and this relationship is clearly shown in:
- Following the social policy avoids improvisation in developing plans and programs.
- Social policy clarifies the social work profession the trends, fields, and methods of social work.
- Social service works in the fields of social welfare and the social environment and has a large sum of information and experiences.
- After the social doctrine has expanded, the government intervenes to bring about a balance.
- Social service works within the limits of general social policy and tries to make citizens adapt within the limits of existing systems and resources.