Social policy is a term used to describe areas of policy within a welfare state. Social policy refers to guidelines and legislation that affect the living conditions in a society and the quality of life of a citizen. Social policy deals with social problems. Sociologists like Auguste Comte and Charles Booth, contributed hugely for the developmet of social policy. Social policy can be described as actions that affect the well-being of members of a society the distribution of and access to goods and resources in that society. Social Policy can be described as social policy or public policy in the areas of health care, criminal justice, inequality of condition, education, and labor. Social policy is an academic discipline focusing social need. Social policy was developed to complement to social work studies.
The Social Policy Department at the London School of Economics defines social policy as an interdisciplinary and applied subject concerned with the analysis of societies' responses to social need. The Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy at Harvard University describes social policy as "public policy and practice in the areas of health care, human services, criminal justice, inequality, education, and labor."
Discussions on 'social policy' in the United States and Canada can also apply to governmental policy on social issues such as tackling racism. - Eilperin, Juliet; Mufson, Steven (28 April 2015). "Obama calls for social policy changes in wake of Baltimore riots" - The Washington Post.
Social policy in the United States and Canada also applies to policy on social issues such as, the legal status of abortion, guns, euthanasia assisted suicide problems, drugs and also prostitution. Social policy is complex and in each state it is subject to local and national governments, as well as supranational political influence. According to Edward Elgar, there is not a single clear and comprehensive definition of social policy.