Meaning of social policy

Social policy is an activity that tries to formulate, implement a solution to solve social problem. The propose of teaching their subject is to equip trainees with knowledge, skills and attitude to enable them understand know how social policies are made and administered for one achievement of goal, it also help to examine organization structure and involve themselves in implementing policy into programme and access their effectiveness.


Social aspect

Anything concern with man in society

A policy –this is a principle that governs action directed towards a given end or set problems. The concept denotes action to bring about change in terms solving social problems.

Social policy

It is a statement of ideas aim and purpose of plans of action made by the government or NGO’s how services have to be organized

Social policy defines direction trends of social work and how they have to be administered or implemented. It is concern with how the society should organize its resources to meet the set aims or goals.

N/B – social policy are formulated only if there is any social problem in the society. There must be embedded in a written document and rectified by legitimate authorities to term as guideline to obtain action.


Characteristics of a Social Policy

  • Have to be written down to form the basis of commitment i.e. verbal policies are not applicable.
  • They must be ratified and legitimized by authorities concern i.e. ratification is done by executive bodies e.g. parliament, local authorities and board of governors.
  • They must be voluntarily accepted is used for force is not encouraged
  • It involves choice making process that it sets objective and methodology to be utilized. e.g. free primary education
  • They are either micro or macro has to do with provision of service at national level and micro has to do with provincial of service e.g. family and community level.

Sources of Social Policy

  • Government through the parliament
  • Non government organization
  • International donor community
  • Community base organization


Aims of social Policy

  • To solve problem that will help to improve the quality of life of people and protect the weak in the society.
  • Allocation of social justice – it has do with distribution of resources
  • It enhances economic growth and development – this should try to eliminate poverty and other social problems
  • It clarifies the intension of an organization government that what or why organization is involved in provision of social services. It gives justification
  • It ensures social stability – social services are provided to maximize social stability thus maintaining social cohesion or togetherness. Once people have basic necessities they become peacefully quite wiling to work
  • Are concern with alleviation of social problems in the society through formulation of effective strategies such problems include illiteracy, poverty diseases and unemployment.



Origin and Historical Development of Social Policy in Kenya

They can be traced back to the tomes of forefathers and it can be said to be as old as society, for this reason it has been observed for a long time the society provided its members with the basic needs e.g. food, clothing and shelter.

The African society be it a clan, community or a tribe provided this services as a whole. The British government organized some form of social policy which grew and slowly spread to the other parts of the world.

During this period social policy were made by British council for the relies for those with social problems and this was sought from church and the family. This is in accordance with the poor legislation which restricted the poor to an extend that it should pay was to be distinguished.

The industrial revolution did speed up the department of social policy because of the social cost associated with industrialization of development of slums unemployment and state of economic change

Social policy and administration come up around the Second World War due to crisis of providing housing education, nutrition employment e.t.c

Social administration came up to adopt a welfare service with the needs of its citizens free of charge with the development of sociology, social administration grew and advanced hence emphasize was put on the things easily observed and measure. There was a lot of excitement because people thought they could be eliminated.

Social policy is developing countries where laid down by former colonies after independence and even today most policies currently applied were involved in the provision of social services during the time missionaries believed African reserved those right and on the other hand the colonize argued that they had to work together which was a major criteria.

Hospitals and educational institutions were built and were never opened but voluntary organization e.g. lottery clubs came up to supplement this service i.e. try to reach anyone.

After independence others were delegated to the government this was base on the universal criteria and interacted towards economic production e.g. wealth Kenya utilized its wealth to get best services. In 1995 the selected criteria started with focusing on vulnerable group.

Little evidence occupation was seen in schools and the government subsidies salaries and other equipment drugs were partly paid by individuals during this time the individuals the NGO sector become up to supplement social services. This past independent period has focused and emphasis levied on the private sector.

NGO has led to the provision of welfare services from the stand pressure has been on the government to adopt the revaluation of the economy e.g. World Bank, this has ensured that social services are offered without corruption but corruption has been the main obstacle.



Decision Making Process

It is the act of selecting a particular alternative of solving problem. Also is a conscious choice analyzed by some one followed by the action to implement the choice

Principles in Decision making

  • Problem should be clearly defined and identified it must be understand to its full extend
  • Check on the causes and symptoms by solving details analyzed of problems including a number of people affected by problems.
  • Followed by listing the alternatives and looking for the cost effective or where they can reap maximum benefit with minimum cost.
  • Maximum choice of alternative is then done.

Steps to be followed in decision making process

  • Identify the decision to be made
  • Sour awareness of the need for decision may be brought about by the number of the factors such as senses dissatisfaction then go through internal process of trying to define clearly nature and decision to make.
  • Gathering relevant information
  • All background information should be obtained and all available factors have to be collected
  • Identifying alternative
  • Through the process of collecting information you will be able to identify two or more mean of action used possible alternative must be subject to searching details
  • Rating alternative – after identifying the rate by drawing information or awareness e.g. what will be like if you carry out each of the information to the end.
  • Choosing among the alternative by choosing the best suited alternative details
  • TAKING ACTION – put in action the decision you have made
  • Reviewing the decision and the target group.
  • Testing – if its cause efficiently.

Decision Making Models

This is representation of something with a copy which can be based on because it is extremely good.

In decision making several models can be followed;

At community level

At this level the problem is experienced by individual and not the government informal groups come which can be inform of social advocate, thus the members of a community felt something must be done to solve the existing problem

The people who are professional or elite group may intervene to assist the community and lobby to relevant authorities until something is done

Ministry of department

Offices concern collect through research method analyze and present to relevant authorities for policy formulation. It is through contribution of employees at the grass root level their policy are able to know weight of the problem in the ground and come up to formulate relevant polices and hence government knows through provincial administration chief and local leaders.


International organization

Many countries derive their policies from international bodies e.g. UN especially policies like human rights, environment and employees. The countries who are the member of this body sign declaration committing them to implement recommendation of convention.

Political parties

Many parties in other countries are of manifesto. E.g. in Kenya free primary education was in NARC which was not there in KANU error.- decision making by government.


Scholars’ research

The scholars may come up and conduct research on social problem and their recommendation are mostly adopted by policy makers. Students who are at their masters level may conduct research especially on their product  and services, students come up with shares with them data to make policies on how to improve their product be it ht rough marketing and production.


Other countries

Other country policies may form a basic for another country especially on economic policies like preferential trade, workable education policies like PTA in Kenya banks like Equity may borrow money from India and implement so well that they manage to implement so well such that the highest number of customers, also the 8-4-4 system was borrowed from Canada



Whenever the disaster occurs e.g. food lightening, land eruption which pause displacement of people and destruction. The government came up with a policy to guide them for future protection like house collapse, terrorism etc so they try to come up and implement policies deal with it.


National philosophers

Philosophy is an internalized attitude, idea, thinking way of life or a belief e.g. nyayo was advocated by Kenyatta in order to finish social crisis in community suffering and harambee introduced by Moi to fight disease and poverty because he saw the people must join in hand together has nation this resulted the community to put more efforts to assist the government in development planning and as a result may scholars may distribute and local community distributes in collaboration with the government



Social policy making process refers to a situation whereby decision are made on the type of change of development required. A policy is not just made but it involves a lot of effort whereby a number of people are involved and several factors are considered. Policy making process implies the intervention of diverse ideas and it’s a way through which tackling of a particular problem at a micro level are arrived at.

Social policy process uses several models.


The System Model Theory

This model assumes that policy making is a continuous interaction between the government system and community system. The modes pass the following stages;

1. Presentation of the problem to the government

There must be existing problem of situation in the community which present itself as a problem or a need and requires immediate solution. The community uses perceived problem to come up with definition of the problem e.g. increase of poverty, the following question can be answered;

  1. What is the magnitude of the problem or the number of people being affected?
  2. What are the cause of the problem e.g. illiteracy
  3. Who is affected by the problem e.g. women and children

After the definition the community is allowed to send their complaint from the community to the government system for appropriate action, this is done through community leaders and the government is aware.

2. Action of the government to the problem

In order to solve the problem the government comes up with the policy output and this manifest themselves in the form of real action of provision of goods and services or establishment of the project.

3. Policy to the government

After the provision of the service the government finds out whether the policy has served the intended purpose. The government received the feedback from the community leader

4. Problem of resolution earn or change

If the evaluation establishes that the problem has been solved the service must be terminated, but if the policy was not effective then new resolution can be made.


Institutional / redistribute model

This model view social welfare service as a basic right you should be provided universary. Social welfare services are not seen as a last resort but very vital in getting cohesiveness or unity in the society.

One is not suppose to subject to her criteria test before receiving the service, even emphasize equality is provision of social service to achieve this the government taxes all, people which reduces the gap between the poor and the rich

NB this model advocate for universal services for all people e.g. in Kenya there are free and compulsory primary education. Subsidies medical services in government hospital and other selective services for the handicapped e.g. bursaries.

Advantage of institutional models

  • It promotes the value of solidarity i.e. cohesiveness and citizenship
  • It caters for universal needs they cannot be made by the family or the private sector
  • It assists the poor in the society
  • The model is helpful in the situation that cannot be made by the family and the private sector


  • It is costly or expensive to the economy of the country i.e. many countries find it difficult to offer them to the people
  • There are people in the community whom doesn’t need these services and sometimes they may hijack
  • The quality of these services might be poor because of the high expenses involved
  • Wastage of resources especially yon those people who do not require them
  • There is lack of choice, quality and variety
  • It encourages laziness because there is no regard and record for hard work
  • There is over centralization of services and decision making in the society


Residual Model

The proponent of these models believes that there are only two natural channels through which individual needs are meet i.e. the family and the social welfare maker. It is only when these two fail to meet an individual needs and welfare service should only be temporary carried into an operation only at the certain time and not continuous exercise.

Residual argues that only the weakest in the society should be held by selecting concentrating resources. Social welfare services is provided as a charity of certain period of time e.g. famine and social clashes when family has broken down

Residual also see the provision of social welfare services as they start as burden to tax payers  i.e. it considers unfair for the start  to spend public money on the poor who are un productive more of the society

They also believe that the society grow or develop the role of the state should gradually diminish e.g. people become self reliant and able to enter for them selves the productive society will not have any incentives to work hard because their tax are being freely given to others.

Advantage of this model

  • It offers services to those in need e.g. the sick, disaster victims, disabled e.t.c
  • Limited resources are being concentrated on small sector where most felt need is prioritized.
  • It encourages people to work hard and be self reliant
  • It makes it possible for some people to attain some amount of equality e.g. the poor and the rich
  • It removes state monopoly in the provision of social welfare resources thus increasing choice equality and variety offered to the people by the free market.
  • It encourages creativity, innovativeness, efficiency and productivity.


  • It introduce certain stigma to the beneficiaries which one has to be provided , this shows shame and embarrassing for example waving medical in government hospital
  • The service provided tend to be inferior in quality e.g. second hand clothing
  • There is always mismanagement through bribery, nepotism and tribalism
  • It is too expensive to determine the eligible people to be given more service
  • Welfare service are always on short supply and limited i.e. not enough for the clients needs
  • It brings about some socially economic stratification based on social status, ethnicity and education.
  • The service are temporary aid and might not enable self sustainability


The Value of Residual Model

The value, liberty and freedom of people in the payment of taxes e.g. these should be no forces harambee or fundraising. Individualism whereby each person strive to maximize his or her own inferior in the private market. This would lead to the enhancement of commitment on the part of society at large and it would also lead to increase in choice of variety and quality of service.

Inequality is justified or recognized i.e. inequality is necessary both as an incentive for people to work hard and partly because it cannot be completely eliminated

The state should have a very marginal role on the provision of social welfare i.e. should only provide basic utility services such as defense

NB – in the contemporary times residuals is seen in terms of market liberalization and structural adjustment process which have the origin in west Europe and USA whose economy are capitalist in nature and in their structural arrangement.


Industrial Achievement / performance model

The proponent of these models argues that the government and private sector should in hand in provide social welfare services to people.

They argue that the market can have the negative role in providing of welfare service to the citizens. The state and the free market and the family therefore are seen as playing complementary role in provision of social welfare service.

They see capitalism as being unfair for the promotion of equality through the reforms society and redistribution of society from the better to the less well of. The harder you work more you should be rewarded and the higher position the greater the service and privileged through this incentives one is motivated to work harder and become more productive.

They also see that the market transaction as wasteful since they cannot solve the poverty problem of the people. The need for this model should not be seen in the context of highly valued or praised any individual thus important to sustain economic growth and development.

The model also assumes that everybody is working and as an occupation consequently important for industrialization which is sustained by economic growth and development. Thus employed in the society in the society should not receive in the social service since they do not contribute to industrialization. This model also values liberty whereby people should be free from negative condition of the market. The degrading tendency from negative condition of the market. The degrading tendencies which donor eliminates poverty also value inequality which is incentives to hard work in the model.

The government has the following roles;

  • To tackle manifest social problems e.g. poverty illiteracy crime e.t.c.
  • To try to solve social imbalance which would lead to social injustice and abuse of human rights
  • To set up priorities in terms of needs e.g. education and infrastructure
  • The state should stimulate private enterprise through a system of reward
  • The state should co-ordinate social welfare planning with economic planning.

Advantages of industrial achievement

  • It encourages people to work hard
  • It creates social economic equality at least lessen inequality
  • Eliminates social ill in the society e.g. diseases
  • It discourages laziness
  • It enhances economic growing and development


  • It assumes that everyone in the society is working in an occupation which may not be true
  • It prolongs the status in the society since it does little to help the disadvantaged members
  • It creates socio economic inequality because it values where service occur to those in position
  • Because of the assumption that everyone has a job those who are not working lack social welfare services e.g. NHIF, NSSF
  • It does not cater for the most efficient services e.g. family relief in case of an accident
  • The model creates class alienation and discrimination in the society
  • It can lead to conflict in the society because it leads to alienate individuals



There are several factors influencing the social making process

1. Norms and culture of the members of the society

The cultural factors of the community must be put into consideration in the formulation of policies that is the culture of the community may make a policy to be rejected thus provision of social policy hinders it. A provision of social policy should not go against the believers and the wishes of the people concern.

2. Political set up

In many countries social policies are largely political decision the prospect of successes of social welfare provision to largely depend on political or the minister concern in the ministry. The parliament which is the government should always put in consideration also NGO policies should always be in line with what has been pas in parliament by politicians.

3. The present of the pressure group

Pressure groups are organization than pressure for social changes in the society. They influence the adoption of various policies to protect the welfare of various members in the society e.g. the Amnesty international group which deal with human rights and rightly against torture.

 4. Economic factors

Social policy making in any country in legally constitution by the extend of its economic resources. For any social policy implementation and formulation to succeed financial support is necessary. Availability of resources is necessary during the process of social policy making in any country.

5. Influence from international donor community

The donor community through some of the international companies and organization such as IMF give with string attached i.e. constitution to be made by the receiving countries these donors seek to dominate the policies of the third world using aid given to them. As a consultant and in most cases the opinions are always in the conflict with the opinion of the third world leaders.


1. Solutions to the social problems for which it was design.

Social policy are formulated in order to alleviate social problems in the society therefore policy are tools used in social development work or activities

2. Creation of awareness

Social policy include explanation of the nature of problems and measured st to solve the problem before social policies are help the members of the society to become more aware of the problems in their community

 3. It brings about social changes: It aims to bring about change hence living standards are changed through employment or education. This is to bring an improvement in the members of the society the change is the overall goal of social development work. Social changes is seen in terms of a shift from one situation themselves in procuring the needs. The programme started through the social policies should become an on going activity of the members of the society thus has it continued to exist in gradually takes over a life of its own

4. It helps to improve the quality of use of people and protect the weak.

5. It helps in development in human resources through trainings.

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