Course Outline

SWK710 Advocacy and Leadership in Social Policy and Legal Contexts

Course Coordinator:Raj Yadav ( School:School of Law and Society

2023Semester 1

UniSC Sunshine Coast

UniSC Moreton Bay

Blended learning Most of your course is on campus but you may be able to do some components of this course online.

Please go to for up to date information on the
teaching sessions and campuses where this course is usually offered.

What is this course about?


This course introduces you to the Australian social policy and legal landscape and how social work services and practice is shaped within this context. Social policy impacts on the welfare of a nation’s citizens, through mechanisms for distributing society’s resources. Social policy is underpinned by values, driven by political objectives and maintained by discursive practices. This course will provide a critical theoretical framework for evaluating historical and recent trends in social policy and its impact on people from various population groups. 

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Learning materials – Online learning materials Week 1 to Week 13 1hr Week 1 13 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – 13*2hrs F2F Tutorials/Workshops 2hrs Week 1 13 times

Course Topics

  • Introduction to social work and social policy
  • Engaging in social policy as social work students
  • Current debates in social policy
  • Knowledge, power, politics, ideology, discourse, and social policy
  • Bachhi’s ‘What is the Problem Represented be’
  • Analyising policy and writing policy brief

What level is this course?

700 Level (Specialised)

Demonstrating a specialised body of knowledge and set of skills for professional practice or further learning. Advanced application of knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts.

What is the unit value of this course?

12 units

How does this course contribute to my learning?

Course Learning Outcomes On successful completion of this course, you should be able to... Graduate Qualities Completing these tasks successfully will contribute to you becoming...
1 Explain how social policy influences inequality, the structure of Australian society and the well-being of citizens. Knowledgeable
2 Identify central issues in social policy development and analysis. Ethical
3 Apply a critical framework to analyse at least one area of social policy. Creative and critical thinker
4 Communicate research through written and verbal modes. Empowered

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

Refer to the UniSC Glossary of terms for definitions of “pre-requisites, co-requisites and anti-requisites”.


Not applicable


Not applicable


Not applicable

Specific assumed prior knowledge and skills (where applicable)

Not applicable

How am I going to be assessed?

Grading Scale

Standard Grading (GRD)

High Distinction (HD), Distinction (DN), Credit (CR), Pass (PS), Fail (FL).

Details of early feedback on progress

Students will be undertake an online quiz test on week 4 and following this they will be provided needed and relevant feedbacks on their academic progress. 

Assessment tasks

Delivery mode Task No. Assessment Product Individual or Group Weighting % What is the duration / length? When should I submit? Where should I submit it?
All 1 Quiz/zes Individual 20%
A three-hour long online quiz
Week 4 Online Test (Quiz)
All 2 Oral Individual 40%
10-15 minutes in-workshop presentation followed by 5 minutes Q&A
Refer to Format In Class
All 3 Written Piece Individual 40%
3000 words
Week 13 Online Submission
All - Assessment Task 1:Quiz
The main goal of this task is to test students' knowledge and understanding of some basic concepts in social work and social policy.
Product: Quiz/zes
Students will undertake a multiple-choice quiz that will consist of 20 questions based on SWK710 readings and online learning materials. The quiz will be time-bound. That is, once the students commence the quiz, they must finish within three hours. The quiz will be available on Week 4.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Correct identification of knowledge and understanding of basic concepts in social work and social policy
1 2
All - Assessment Task 2:Discourse Analysis presentation
To develop critical and discourse analysis skills in relation to a relevant social policy.
Product: Oral
Policy decisions at various levels impact on the life chances, experiences and abilities of individuals, families, groups, and whole communities. As a social worker, your practice will be contextualised within a social policy and legal framework as it shapes the nature of services you provide to individuals, families, groups, and communities. Using an aspect of professional practice from your own experience either on field placement, or from your own human services related paid work, present a discourse analysis of a chosen policy to present in the tutorial between week 7 and week 10 that will:

1. Critically analyse a relevant social policy and its legal context and discuss how it impacts on service users and on social work practices, and which employs an approach to critical discourse analysis based on Carol Bacchi’s
2. Analyse the legal context and the underlying policy agenda from a critical perspective, outlining what assumptions are evident about the nature of social relations or populations within society;
3. Outline how social policies and legal contexts have impacted on the relevant social service agency policies and practices impacting on service users;
4. Analyse how social workers could practice ethically and transcend the political agendas of governments or potentially oppressive social policies;
5. Propose at least two relevant and practical recommendations based on your discourse analysis

It is suggested that you select a social policy initiative relevant to your current social service work context, or your field education placement agency, however, this is not essential. Choose an area of social policy that interests you, or an area about which you have some prior knowledge. Several social policies will be placed on Canvas and you may also choose to analyse one of these, if you wish.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Demonstrate critical awareness of a relevant social policy and its legal context; its policy
discourses and agendas and inherent assumptions; and its impacts on service users and
work practices at an organisational level.
1 2 3
Articulate how socialwork ethics can be drawn upon and demonstrated in practice that
could transcend the political agendas of governments or potentially oppressive social
1 2 3
Advocate for at least two recommendations that could be made to the social policy that aligns
with social work ethics and if implemented by government could potentially transcend
oppressive conditions impacting on service users.
1 2 3
Demonstrate high quality oral presentation skills, engaging the audience with
compelling non-scripted information and respond effectively to questions from the
All - Assessment Task 3:Social Policy Review Submission and Accompanying Strategy Proposal - collaborative/cooperative strategy proposal or conflict/campaign strategy proposal
To develop written skills in policy reform advocacy.
Product: Written Piece
This assessment piece is in two parts. Part A is a submission to a policy review process about the same social policy discussed in the previous assessment task. You will write a 3-4 page submission making a case for, and two specific recommendations about, how the social policy should be reformed, modified or expanded. Part B involves writing a 2-3 page accompanying strategy proposal to maximise the effectiveness of the submission (Part A) and considers the policy makers you are attempting to influence. The strategy proposal is to be viewed within the broader social policy context and policy cycle, and would, therefore, indicate either a collaborative/cooperative strategy, or a conflict/campaign strategy is appropriate for the chosen policy in the current policy cycle. A detailed document providing guidelines about the specifics required for these tasks (Parts A and B) will be provided to you at the commencement of the course.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Demonstrate comprehension of a critical approach to social policy analysis, by analysing
a relevant social policy document as it impacts on service users and on social work
practices (Part A).
1 2
Make coherent & persuasive arguments about how the social policy should be reformed and articulate two practical, succinct & relevant recommendations about how the social policy can be reformed based on the arguments made (Part A).
2 3
Write a detailed plan for an appropriate strategy to accompany Part A articulating how social work practice can transcend the political agendas of governments to better reflect social work values, ethics and objectives (Part B).
Follow the Terms of Reference for the submission and cover all sections outlined in the Guidelines document for both Part A and Part B.
Write with clarity (expression, correct grammar, spelling and punctuation), logically structured, coherently argued analysis, and appropriately supported by relevant published literature.

Directed study hours

A 12-unit course will have total of 150 learning hours which will include directed study hours (including online if required), self-directed learning and completion of assessable tasks. Student workload is calculated at 12.5 learning hours per one unit.

What resources do I need to undertake this course?

Please note: Course information, including specific information of recommended readings, learning activities, resources, weekly readings, etc. are available on the course Canvas site– Please log in as soon as possible.

Prescribed text(s) or course reader

Please note that you need to have regular access to the resource(s) listed below. Resources may be required or recommended.

Required? Author Year Title Edition Publisher
Required Carol Lee Bacchi 2009 Analysing Policy: What's the Problem Represented to be? 1st Pearson

Specific requirements


How are risks managed in this course?

Health and safety risks for this course have been assessed as low. It is your responsibility to review course material, search online, discuss with lecturers and peers and understand the health and safety risks associated with your specific course of study and to familiarise yourself with the University’s general health and safety principles by reviewing the online induction training for students, and following the instructions of the University staff.

What administrative information is relevant to this course?

Assessment: Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the ethical standard of university participation.  It ensures that students graduate as a result of proving they are competent in their discipline.  This is integral in maintaining the value of academic qualifications. Each industry has expectations and standards of the skills and knowledge within that discipline and these are reflected in assessment.

Academic integrity means that you do not engage in any activity that is considered to be academic fraud; including plagiarism, collusion or outsourcing any part of any assessment item to any other person.  You are expected to be honest and ethical by completing all work yourself and indicating in your work which ideas and information were developed by you and which were taken from others. You cannot provide your assessment work to others. You are also expected to provide evidence of wide and critical reading, usually by using appropriate academic references.

In order to minimise incidents of academic fraud, this course may require that some of its assessment tasks, when submitted to Canvas, are electronically checked through Turnitin.  This software allows for text comparisons to be made between your submitted assessment item and all other work to which Turnitin has access.

Assessment: Additional Requirements

Your eligibility for supplementary assessment in a course is dependent of the following conditions applying:

The final mark is in the percentage range 47% to 49.4%
The course is graded using the Standard Grading scale
You have not failed an assessment task in the course due to academic misconduct

Assessment: Submission penalties

Late submission of assessment tasks may be penalised at the following maximum rate: 
- 5% (of the assessment task's identified value) per day for the first two days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- 10% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the third day - 20% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the fourth day and subsequent days up to and including seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- A result of zero is awarded for an assessment task submitted after seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. Weekdays and weekends are included in the calculation of days late. To request an extension you must contact your course coordinator to negotiate an outcome.


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The SafeUSC Specialist Service is a Student Wellbeing service that provides free and confidential support to students who may have experienced or observed behaviour that could cause fear, offence or trauma. To contact the service call 07 5430 1226 or email

Study help

For help with course-specific advice, for example what information to include in your assessment, you should first contact your tutor, then your course coordinator, if needed.

If you require additional assistance, the Learning Advisers are trained professionals who are ready to help you develop a wide range of academic skills. Visit the Learning Advisers web page for more information, or contact Student Central for further assistance: +61 7 5430 2890 or

Wellbeing Services

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To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 2890.

Links to relevant University policy and procedures

For more information on Academic Learning & Teaching categories including:

  • Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs
  • Review of Assessment and Final Grades
  • Supplementary Assessment
  • Administration of Central Examinations
  • Deferred Examinations
  • Student Academic Misconduct
  • Students with a Disability

For more information, visit

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