An understanding of social policy is vital for engaging practically with social work values, dealing with political and ethical questions about responsibility, rights, our understanding of 'the good society'. This textbook provides a comprehensive introduction to social policy, tailored to the needs of a social work audience Jonathan Dickens analyses current policies and policy themes relevant to social work, and locates them in the context of fundamental social policy principles and debates. He discusses the nature of social policy and its relationship to social work, and covers essential themes such as: Service user participation and involvement The balance between individual, societal and state responsibility for people's wellbeing The proper roles of the state, the private sector, voluntary organisations and the family The relationships between needs, rights and choices The purposes and challenges of professional social work The meanings of 'inclusion' and 'personalisation'. Each chapter ends with activities for reflection and analysis, and suggestions for further reading. This text develops a dynamic and compelling framework for critical analysis of contemporary social policy and social work. It will be invaluable for students undertaking social work qualifying courses, all of whom are required to demonstrate an understanding of the social policy contexts of practice.