What is social policy?
Social policy is about how we meet human needs - needs like housing, employment, nurturing, safety and security, and child care. Social policy can be expressed in how we care for one another and how individuals, communities, and government come together to address social issues. Social policy includes actions, guidelines, principles, laws, and regulations. It involves creating the conditions to maintain a minimum standard of well-being for Albertans, ensuring the fair treatment of individuals, and providing services to people in need. By stating and communicating our approach, we can better organize ourselves around shared outcomes and make more strategic use of our resources.
What is a social policy framework?
Alberta’s Social Policy Framework is a living document that provides broad, overall direction for social policy in Alberta. It is intended to guide collective efforts to meet the growing and diverse needs of Albertans. The framework provides decision-making tools to address social challenges. It enables a common foundation to evaluate, measure, and report progress on achieving the desired outcomes. The framework is part of the ongoing dialogue between individuals, agencies, community organizations, and the non-profit sector to ensure that Albertans who need help have access to it. While most social supports are intended to help people in times of need, the framework is not just about people in need. It is intended to benefit all Albertans.
What are the key components of the framework?
The framework includes:
- A clear, shared vision for the future
- Principles to guide decision making
- Desired outcomes for both Albertans and our support systems
- Key actions that enable the achievement of results
- Clear roles and responsibilities
Albertans identified four key goals for social policy and community in the province: reduce inequality; protect vulnerable people; enable collaboration and partnerships; and create a person-centred system of high quality services. Albertans highlighted safety, inclusion, health, education, training, recreation, and cultural opportunities as the most important outcomes for their families and communities. They also recommended a number of policy shifts, including a focus on prevention and awareness; treating people with dignity; and creating a system of supports that puts people first.
The full framework is available here . A one-page overview of the framework is available here.
Why do we need a social policy framework in Alberta?
What are the next steps for the social policy framework?
More than 31,000 Albertans participated in the public engagement from June 7 to November 16, 2012. Input from the public engagement has been collected and analyzed. Summaries of the feedback are now available here.
The final framework was adopted by the Government of Alberta and its partners on February 28 2013. We are now working with communities to implement the key strategies identified in the framework that will enable us to realize Albertans’ goals and vision.
Moving forward, we will continue to use this site to post framework updates and engage Albertans in implementation. Socialpolicy.alberta.ca will also be used to inform and engage Albertans on key strategies such as poverty reduction and early childhood development.
How will the social policy framework help create better outcomes for Albertans?
Communities, non-profit organizations, government, and businesses will use the framework to target supports and services on achieving results Albertans want. The framework’s goals will inform decision-making for priority actions including poverty reduction and early childhood development, as well as challenges such as addictions and family violence. All partners(government, communities, business, non-profits, families, and individuals) will be encouraged to use the framework as a lens to evaluate people, programs, and services.
The Framework will have:
- an influencing role to guide policy alignment—it will reach beyond Human Services to other areas of government
- a coordinating role to support the redesign of policy and practice—it will coordinate activities within and between government departments, and between government and other stakeholders, to ensure consistency; and
- a clarifying role to produce better outcomes for Albertans—it will be clear about what we are trying to achieve, how we are going to get there, and who is going to do what.
Eight transformational initiatives have been identified to demonstrate to social policy partners and the public how the Social Policy Framework will be executed in concrete and measurable action.
- Early Childhood Development
- Results-Based Budgeting
- Poverty Reduction Strategy
- Partner with First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities
- Common Service Access
- Safe Communities
- Family Care Clinics
- Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness
How can I participate in implementing the social policy framework?
Although the conversations to create the social policy framework are now closed, engagement on next steps and implementation continues. Socialpolicy.alberta.ca will continue to be a place for debate, discussion, and learning. Watch for updated questions for comment and discussion, and updates on the framework’s progress.
There are many ways you can still participate and move the conversation forward:
- Visit the online library
- Contribute by writing a blog
- Contribute to comment boards on the site
- Continue social policy discussions with family and friends
- Send us your thoughts directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tools and resources to help you integrate Alberta’s Social Policy Framework into your everyday work will be posted on this website shortly.
Our framework is outdated. Alberta has not had a social policy framework since the 1970s. We need a current, forward-looking framework to address our present-day needs and challenges, and to plan for those in our future.
We need to act. Alberta faces a number of challenges in areas like poverty, family violence, and the over-representation of Aboriginal peoples in our child intervention and justice systems. We need hit the refresh button and ensure that our actions are having their intended outcomes. We need to build on what is working, and fix what is not.
We need to work better together. Within government, between governments, and among all the other actors that have a role in our social policy: communities, the non-profit and voluntary sector, industry, individual Albertans. Many sectors are working together to provide Albertans with the opportunity to participate fully in Alberta’s economy, communities, and cultural life. But we are still working in silos.
We need the greatest result possible from our actions. Albertans cannot afford initiatives that don’t create better outcomes for themselves and our province. A social policy framework will help to better co-ordinate our resources and actions to ensure that we are all working together towards a shared goal.
What is the difference between a social policy framework and a poverty reduction strategy?
Who is involved in implementing Alberta’s social policy framework?