Policy and Legislation in Social Care 1

This course provides a comprehensive overview of Irish social policy and legislation and its specific importance for people with disabilities, their families and people/organisations providing services to them.

The accredited, six-week programme:

  • Surveys the political and legislative context in which social policy/legislation has developed and operates
  • Explains the structure, development and overall impact of social policy on the disability sector in Ireland
  • Examines how the Irish Social Welfare system works and deals with disability
  • Investigates educational policy within a disability-specific framework
  • Explores the policy context of the world of work for a person with disabilities

At a Glance

  • Audience People working in disability services
  • AwardSocial Policy and Legislation (6N14528)
  • Award Type HET Minor
  • Level on NFQ 6 (10 Credits)
  • FormatBlended
  • Apply byMarch 11th, 2019
  • Start DateMarch 25th, 2019
  • Workshop DateApril 8th/9th, 2019
  • Examination DateMay 13th, 2019
  • Duration 6 weeks
  • Fees €395

Continue to Application Centre

Who Is This Course For?

The course is for disability service professionals looking to extend their knowledge and skills in the area in an accredited programme developed by and for people working in disability services.

Course Details

Learning Objectives

After successfully completing the course you should be able to:

  • Describe the political, legislative and administrative system in Ireland and outline how to work in a positive and ethical manner within it
  • Explain the origins, structure and development of disability legislation and social policy in Ireland and assess its importance
  • Discuss how the Irish welfare benefit system operates and explain the key components of benefit payments system
  • Understand how social welfare policy affects both a person with disabilities and their family and describe how changes to it can impact on access to the workplace and a person’s experience of it
  • Describe current debates surrounding education and disability
  • Promote the current language and concepts of supported education policy


Unit 1: Understanding Political Ideology, Government Policy, Social Policy & Legislation

  • Political Spectrum & Ideologies
  • The Centre of the Political Spectrum
  • Left Wing Political Ideology
  • Right Wing Political Ideology
  • Understanding the Legislative Government & Political System in Ireland
  • Social Policy Defined
  • Social Services & the Welfare State
  • Active Social Policy
  • Disability Policy
  • Disability Studies & the Link to Social Policy
  • Why does Social Policy Matter?
  • Why do Social Care Professionals Need to Study Social Policy?
  • What Role does the Government Play?
  • Disability Policy & Legislative Developments
  • The New Structures
  • The National Disability Authority (NDA), Comhairle & FAS

Unit 2: Disability & Welfare

  • Irish Social Welfare Law & Administration
  • The Irish Social Welfare System – Characteristics
  • Social Insurance Payments
  • Social Assistance Payments
  • Universal Benefits
  • Other Distinctions
  • Disability-Related Social Welfare Payments in Ireland
  • Payments for Carers
  • Levels of Disability-Related Social Welfare
  • Disability-Related Social Welfare & Earnings from Employment
  • Disability Payments – Expenditure & Trends
  • The Relationship between Disability & Poverty
  • Social Protection & Social Inclusion
  • Disability & the Cost of Living

Unit 3: The Changing Educational Framework

  • The Legislative Context
  • Education Provision for Students with Disability – Primary & Secondary Schools
  • Early Education for Children with Special Educational Needs
  • Individual Schools
  • Certificate Examinations & 3rd Level Study
  • Disability & Further Education / Higher Education
  • Funds for Students with Disabilities
  • Disability Support Services (University College Cork)
  • Trinity College Dublin (Certificate in Contemporary Living)

Unit 4: Disability & the New Employment Framework

  • Employment of People with Disabilities – Historical Overview
  • The Contemporary Situation
  • Barriers to Employment – Education & Training, Qualifications, Welfare, Social Attitudes & Discrimination
  • The New System: Legislation
  • What is Reasonable Accommodation?
  • Disability Discrimination Cases (1995 – 2005)
  • Access to Public Buildings, Information & Services
  • Other Employments Supports available to People with Disabilities & their Employers


Successful completion of the course is dependent on passing an exam that will test your knowledge and understanding of Irish social policy and legislation and its impact on the Irish disability sector. You will have had access to expert advice and the input of professional contemporaries, providing you with a unique opportunity to develop your understanding and analysis of Irish social policy and how it impacts on disability in Ireland.

Taking the Course

The course uses a ‘blended’ approach which combines online learning, virtual tutorials and face to face workshops.

Our online learning materials are explicitly designed to accommodate the pressures that come with trying to balance work, life and learning. They make it possible to build study time around your work schedule. These are accessible through our learning centre which provides a platform for you to study, collaborate and communicate with your fellow learners. Regular online tutorials will expand your knowledge of the topic and answer any questions you have as you study.

Each workshop focuses on extending your understanding of the subject matter and helping you apply it in your working practice. The one-day session will be led by a subject matter expert who also has extensive experience in providing coaching/training to people working in the human services and non-profit sector.

Discussion, collaboration and the sharing of experiences are actively encouraged in order for the workshop to achieve one of its primary goals:

  • Facilitating the application of knowledge and skills acquired during the course to address real world challenges in a practical and effective manner.

Underpinning all of this is our learning community. This is made up of tutors who have extensive first-line experience, learning support staff who understand the human challenges people can face when attending college and our learners who are defined by their commitment to supporting each other.

We believe this creates a learning experience that is unique to the Open Training College, one that meets the specific requirements of people working in our sector and improves the quality of service our users receive. This is known as the Supported Open Learning Model. You can read more about it here.

The Learning Experience

The Tutor’s View – Tracey Warner

Very few textbooks examine the Irish experience of disability-specific social policy and legislation. This course does that and also places a particular emphasis on encouraging students to share their own experiences so our collective understanding of the subject can grow. That, for me, is really important.

The Student View – Stephen Green, Social Care Worker, Carriglea Cairde Services

The course provided up-to-date information around Social Policy in Ireland today. I also found the tutorial very helpful in clarifying the information. I really enjoyed the learning experience.


The course is certified by the QQI as a  Level 6 Award on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). Successful participants will be awarded a single subject Certificate in Social Policy & Legislation. Graduates will hold 10 credits towards the BA in Professional Social Care (Disability) degree.

Next Steps

Dates & Duration

The next course starts on March 25th, 2019. It runs for 6 weeks.


The course costs €395 to attend.

Booking a Place

Apply by March 11th, 2019 via the Online Application Centre.

How Can We Help?

Contact us if you want to know more about the course.

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Call: (+353 1) 298 8544
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