Monday, 2 December 2013

Social Welfare Administration as a Method of Social Work

Our country is aiming at sustainable social
development and social welfare. You will be interested
to know why the need for the practice of social
welfare administration as a method of social work
is gaining importance. It is because we have a large
number of social welfare and social development
settings. They include government departments,
Welfare Boards, Corporations, Social Welfare Agencies,
Non Governmental Organisation (NGOs), Inter
Governmental Organisations (IGOs), Community Based
Organisations (CBOs) etc. We also have a large number
of National, state and local level welfare and
development programmes. In addition, Panchayat Raj
institutions oriented to development work have also
been emerging as important institutional contexts
for the practice of Social Welfare Administration.
As our country faces the challenges of poverty,
unemployment, disability, destitution, ill health,
illiteracy, crime, suicide, violence, accidents etc.
our social welfare administration should also become
an effective social work method.
Meaning of Social Welfare
Administration as a Method of
Social Work
Social welfare administration is both scientific and
professional activity. It promotes social work practice
in administration. Therefore it is also called as social
work. It administers or implements special programmes
intended for vulnerable, disadvantaged and weaker
sections of the population such as women, disabled
children, chronically ill, the aged, scheduled caste/
scheduled tribes etc. through social work processes.
It also organises programmes for sustainable social
development. It also aims at the effective
implementation of the regular and special programmes
of social welfare agencies.
Social Welfare Administration translates social welfare
polices and social legislation into social work practice.
It administers the resources and personnel available
for social work practice. It ventilates the many choices
open to clients to adjust themselves as well as to
recover themselves from problem situations.
Social welfare administration also enhances the
psycho-social and economic functioning of the clients
and beneficiaries. Application of social work
administration in the fields of information technology
and e-governance is also very essential. This is
new area for the effective administration of social
and social welfare services, social security and social
work programmes at various levels. It can be used
by local self governments, governments, Non
governmental organisations, Intergovernmental
organisation, co-operatives and private and corporate
organisations. The target groups of this social work
method can be individuals, groups, families,
communities, agencies, organisations, committees
or departments.
Extent of the Use of Primary Methods
of Social Work
In a study on social welfare administration as a
method of social work you will be interested to know
how the primary methods of social work are used
in administration. The basic methods of social work
such as social casework, social group work, community
organisation, social action, etc., play a very important
Social casework is used with individual beneficiaries
in the administration of social services. Social group
work is used with families, and groups, which are
at the heart of every society. Social group work is
also used in working with neighbourhood groups
and self help groups. It is also used to improve the
effectiveness of working of various committees, which
are part of social welfare administration. Community
organisation is used in resource mobilization and
equitable distribution of services at the community
level. It is also used to make effective the functions
of grama sabha/ward meeting under Panchayat Raj
Institutions. Linkages and coordination is also used
under social welfare administration. Social action
is used in bringing social welfare strategies and
collective action for analyzing, modifying and
formulating social welfare policies. It translates the
above into the administration.
Social work research plays a very important role
in social welfare administration. It provides scope
for action research, evaluate current programmes
and provides social work indicators and statistical
indices for developing strategies and programmes.
It also provides necessary data bases for e-governance
in Social Work Administration. Social welfare planning
is an important component of social welfare
Types of Services and their Delivery
Important types of social services are:
1) Education
2) Income transfer
3) Health and nutrition
4) Public housing
5) Employment and training
6) Personal social services
7) Services resulting out of social policy
There are seven types of social services and the
main function of social welfare administration is to
effect the administration of these social services.
The first social service namely education can be
conceptualized as pre-school/elementary/primary,
secondary, vocational, higher education, adult,
continuing and non formal education. It is delivered
either publicly or through cooperatives, corporate
bodies, non governmental organisation and private
organisations. It includes schools, colleges,
universities, training institutes, professional bodies,
internet facilities and e-learning facilities.
The second social service namely income transfer
is called social security in a general sense. The
service can be provided in the event of illness,
disability, destitution, unemployment, natural
calamities, violence, war etc. It is provided through
social insurance, social assistance, pension scheme
or labour welfare fund benefits. It is often collectively
administered. It is also delivered by Panchayat Raj
institutions or through local agencies. As social security
programmes have to reach a large population in
India, professional social workers have a responsibility
to administer internet facilities, electronic
conferencing,  e-governance at various levels in social
work practice and service provisions.
The third kind of social service namely “Health and
Nutrition” may be private operated, public operated,
or operated under health insurance system or through
people’s co-operatives. It can be non-profit or for
profit. In India, there are a large array of health
services for health care delivery. They include
specialised hospital/sanatoria, Medical College
Hospitals, District Hospitals, Taluk Hospitals,
Community Health Centres, Primary Health Centres,
Dispensaries, Nutrition bureaus and so on. In addition,
there are Maternal/Reproductive and Child Health
Centres, Family welfare sub centers, anganvadies
and so on at the local level.
The fourth social service is called “Public Housing”.
There are non profit housing corporations/boards,
and housing co-operatives. There is also housing
systems in plantations, slums and industrial townships.
There are also privately operated housing systems
in rural and urban areas. In India social welfare
institutions, Government departments, and local bodies
also deliver housing services. Indira Awas Yojana
is an important housing scheme of government of
The fifth social service is “Employment and Training”.
Under social welfare administration, social work
methods are used to upgrade services for employment.
It is organised in the public sector as well as private
sector. It is also organised by special agencies,
professional bodies and trusts. Here imparting of
skills through training is an important function of
social welfare administration.
The following list includes items which would generally
be called “Personal Social Services”. They are care,
development, and welfare of the child, probation
and correctional services for the juvenile delinquents,
crime prevention programmes, welfare programmes
for prisoners, victims and their families, institutional
care for women and children, care and adoption by
special parents, family services and counselling, family
social work, continuance of community services and
protective services for the aged or geriatric social
work. Day care and pre-school programmes for the
children, referral programmes, holiday/vacation camps
for children, youth, parents, handicapped and the
elderly, income-assistance and care programmes for
average families, self-help and mutual aid programmes
among disadvantaged and handicapped groups,
counselling programmes for adolescents, marital
counselling, planned parenthood counselling, disability
counselling, aged counselling, specialized institutional
services for destitute, infirm, beggars, poor, persons
in moral danger etc. It also included De Addiction
centres and programmes for the care of alcoholics
and drug addicts, programmes for victims of HIV/
AIDS etc. It also includes human development
programmes and other social welfare services.
The seventh social service is other services resulting
from social policy. Transforming policy into social
and social welfare services and use of experience
and expertise in recommending modifications to
policies comes under this broad area. We have to
identify social inequities and social injustice and
have to solve social problems. In this regard dynamics
of leadership, job satisfaction and public relations
are essential. Upliftment of disadvantaged,
underprivileged and vulnerable section of society
such as women, children, old and infirm, disabled
and handicapped needs top priority. It also includes
special services for scheduled caste, scheduled tribe
and backward communities, and people of backward
areas and slums. In the context of large population,
relief and rehabilitation to migrants, social work
practice among migrant families and rehabilitation
of victims of natural disasters like floods, draughts,
earthquake, landslides, tsunami and so on are
situations in which social service in required.
The nature of social services requires social welfare
administration to act as an essential method of
social work practice. Administrative position of persons
who are associated with the provision of these social
services in India, are designated as secretaries/
administrator/directors, welfare officers, medical social
workers, psychiatric social workers, geriatric social
workers, family social workers, school social workers,
rehabilitation social workers, child development project
officers, block development officers, research officers,
local authority, social workers, project directors/
officers, inspectors of welfare funds etc.
In addition, the various fields of social work such
as medical social work, local authority social work,
social work in industry, social work in agriculture,
family social work, psychiatric social work, geriatric
social work, rural, urban, tribal and coastal
development, contain large scope for services which
need social work administration.
Creative literature in social work is another method
of social work used in administration. Creative
literature and creative media are used to bring out
literature on social work application in administration.
It can be in the form of fiction, serial, drama, dialogue
etc. which personalize social welfare administration.
So it can be seen that the extent of use of primary
methods in social work have wider coverage.
Social welfare administration has to play an important
role in the administration of creative, preventive,
promotive, developmental and statutory social welfare
services. Social welfare administration is not only
needed in the Government sector but it is also largely
used in the non governmental organisations, inter
governmental organisations, community based
organisations and in the cooperative sector.
Organisational Climate and Management
Here we are concerned with organisations and primarily
structures for delivering social services, social welfare
services, and social work programmes. It can be
departments, social welfare agencies or non
governmental organisations. It can also be statutory
agencies for implementing welfare provisions.
We can discuss organisational climate as
organisational culture, environment, milieu and so
on. It is experienced by the members of an
organisation. It influences their behaviour. It is also
conceived as the value of a particular sets of
characteristics of an organisation. It distinguishes
one organisation from the other. Some of the
dimensions of the organisation climate are individual
autonomy, direct supervision, better performance,
rewards, team spirit, honest and open on individual
differences, fostering of development, application of
new ideas and methods, taking risks and freedom
for individual to regulate their behaviour. Managerial
values include autonomy, equity, security and
When we consider organisational climate and
management process we have several types of climate
and processes. In a democratic organisational climate
common standards based on policies, rules and
regulations govern activities and welfare of
beneficiaries. The leaders and superiors must develop
group feeling and co-operation among staff of the
organisation. Best way to maintain agency discipline
is the democratic way of trying to develop the work
groups, increase its cohesion and enable it to develop
standards of behaviour. The climate requires overall
progress of the organisation, sustainable human
relations and staff development programmes. It should
also bring out job satisfaction, beneficiary satisfaction
and productivity. In addition, effective supervision
is also essential.
Employees get an opportunity while in work to accept
challenges, serve others, earn money, enjoy prestige 
and status and can be creative and independent.
Initiative taking behaviour leads to high level of
activity and experimentations.
Happy and peaceful employer-employee relations,
employee-employee relations, care provider beneficiary
relations are the core of successful organisational
climate. Good management practices are essential
to improve organisational climate.
Some of the important management practices include
the following.
Fulfillment of defined social needs
Finding out growth opportunities and solutions to
Handling of conflict
Equitable allocation of resources
Determining priorities
Assigning duties and functions
Social diagnosis
Making estimates and projections for future
Provision and selection of alternatives
Organisation of division of work
Scientific approach based on facts
Innovation and modification of services
Evaluation of results and making improvements
Ensuring economical and wise utilization of public
Improving the quality of life of beneficiaries and
care providers
Application of methods, techniques and skills of social
work at every stage of management practice to improve
organisational effectiveness.
Programme Development
Social work education has opened new vistas of
social development. Programme development also
relates to transfer and utilization of technology.
Social work administration has effective applications
in this regard. It includes handing over of new
technology and use, modification and renovation of
existing technology for sustained social welfare
through a process of social work. It improves the
levels of living and quality of life of the target groups.
Programmes are developed by task forces – or task
groups, within the agency setting based on related
policies and legislations. It relates to controlling of
social, physical and mental ill health and morbidity.
It should increase the availability of major articles
and services for community consumption. Programmes
have to be developed for increasing social security.
Then there are vertical and horizontal process to
approve the programmes. Vertical processes include
approval by Local Self Government, District Planning
Unit, State Planning Board, Planning Commission
etc. and horizontal process include consideration
by various departments, institutes etc. at the same
level. Programmes are also to be developed for
redistribution of population, improved housing and
human settlements, attainment of skills, enrichment
of values, and knowledge and improvement in growth
opportunities. Programmes are also developed for
addressing the seven basic social services namely
education, Income Transfer, Health and Nutrition,
Public Housing, Employment and Training, Personal
Social Services and other services resulting from
social policy elaborated in this chapter.
 Programme development covers two major fields. One
is for Developmental social work practice and the
other for Panchayati Raj systems.
The goal of developmental social work is to develop
programmes for social development. It covers sociocultural, political, administrative, and social work
processes. All available resources of a state, community
or agency are pooled together. It harnesses the
capabilities of human service personnel of different
sectors. It also involves beneficiaries, families,
communities and care providers. In addition to the
traditional functions of social welfare, the processes
of developmental social work have to be administered
for sustainable social development.
We have to develop special programmes for egovernance, e-conferencing, Internet, use of
multimedia, information technology and online
programmes like interactive internet counselling to
cover social welfare needs of large populations with
in a limited time. Social workers have to apply the
above programmes and software along with social
work practice to reach every client, beneficiary and
care provider to become efficient social work
administrators.  E-governance also speed up
implementation of income transfer  and social  security
programmes, programmes of inmates of institutional
services and so on.
Another major area of programme development is
under Panchayat Raj based local self-governments.
There are a number of social services and social
welfare services under local self-governments. In
this regard programme development is a challenge
for the social work administration. It is in this context
that social welfare administration becomes a priority
based social work. Formulation of programmes requires
modifications and reformulations before the efficient
social work programmes are developed. In this respect .
we have to make use of legislations, special rules
and subordinate service rules to prepare and to
guide programme development.
Public Relations
With the increasing role of social welfare
administration as a method of social work, one of
its components like public relations becomes an
important programme of social welfare agencies. Public
relations is a major process of social welfare
communication and development support
communication. Public relations interpret ideas and
information from an agency to its publics. It also
enlist information, ideas and opinions from the public,
from the beneficiaries and from the care providers.
Such processes lead to harmonious adjustment of
an agency with its environment. Such an activity
also helps to enlist public support to the social welfare
agencies and its programmes.
The important objectives of public relations in social
welfare are:
1) Psycho social informational preparedness for the
2) Building confidence in staff and care providers
by creating awareness regarding the agency among
its public.
3) Informing tax payers and donors about the problems
faced by the agency and how it functions to
meet the needs of social welfare. It also explains
how the money allotted to the agency is utilized.
4) It explains the benefits from the agency to the
clients and the community.
5) It is also a method of resource mobilisation as
well as increasing membership of the agency.
 There are a series of activities, which can be taken
up under public relations. They can be:
1) The observance of important days, weeks, year,
decades etc. of local, national, international
importance. The local days of importance are
foundation day of the agency and its anniversaries
and celebrations. The national days of importance
include observance of Independence Day, Republic
Day, Gandhi Jayanthi etc. International days of
importance include World Human Rights Day,
World Mental Health Day, Women’s Day, World
Disability Day, World AIDS Day, International
Literacy Day etc. It increases the image and
goodwill of the agency among its public.
2) Conferences, seminars, workshops etc. are
organized relating to the important functions of
the agency from time to time. It improves the
status of the agency. Here techniques of e-governance can also be utilized.
3) Significant contacts: The office bearer, Board
Member etc. contact important officials, leaders,
donors etc. and maintain cordial relationship
with them and inform them on the policies and
work of the agencies. The important personalities
and media men are either invited to the agency
or the representatives of the agency personally
meet them.
4) Public relation handouts, serials, newsletters,
journals, advertisements, etc. can be issued
explaining the services and products of the
5) Traditional cultural media like drama, dance,
song, puppet show etc. can be organised to
communicate the message of the agency to the
public. Personal contacts, visual media, printed
or written words and spoken words are also and Institutions
important. Radio, Television, other electronic and
satellite media can also be used in public relation
The principles include focusing of groups/audience,
organisation of thematic publicity materials, providing
attention to needs of various clients, regular time
table in public relations work, formation and
functioning of public relations committees, enlisting
community participation etc.
The machinery for public relations includes official/
volunteer’s on public relations, task forces, groups
or committees. In sum, public relations work has
to be a sustained effort under social welfare
Understanding Conflict Resolution
There is need for the social work administrator to
understand conflict resolution. There can be a serious
disagreement and argument regarding some thing
important. It can be in the form of a serious difference
between two or more beliefs, ideas, interest,
programmes which cannot be reconciled. There can
be conflict between principles and privileges. Conflict
can also be between departments, agencies,
organisations, groups and individuals or vice versa.
Sometimes there will be conflict when one party
makes some conscious effort to frustrate pursuing
the goals or interests of the other party. This is
called intergroup conflict. There will be conflict like
intra-individual, Interpersonal, Intergroup, and between
organisations. Sometimes conflicts are inevitable and
in some cases desirable. The social work administrator
should understand the conflict from its very preliminary
stage and should take measures to resolve it. Conflict
resolution denotes final solving of the conflict. There
are a number of ways to resolve a problem, argument
or difficulty by applying social work methods,
techniques and skills.
Management of conflict is very essential. Conflict
can be managed as individuals work out differences.
The satisfaction of needs, cooperation and success
underlie each negotiation. The usual method of conflict
resolution is mutual negotiation by individuals, families,
groups or through consensus. Conciliation is another
method of conflict resolution in which the settlement
is reached in the presence of third party usually
a conciliation officer. Arbitration is yet another method
of conflict resolution in which the decision of the
arbitrator is binding on the parties. In most of the
social work contexts the negotiations should continue
until it is reconciled, as failure is usually not
For example, if there can be a conflict between the
doctor and the parent regarding a particular treatment
for a disabled child, the social worker has to bring
in an agreement. The parties and the conciliator
must remain calm and considerate and clear about
the requirements to attain an agreement.
Positive Climate
Social workers have a role in, and a responsibility
for the creation of positive professional relationship
with their colleagues. Workers must exercise conscious
control over their behaviour and in doing so they
come closer to the realization of good working
When staff members and volunteers work in harmony
there seems to be greater likelihood that the agency
will attain its goals and that beneficiaries and care
providers will have a good experience together. Working
together in harmony, devotion and conviction will
lead to meaningful endeavours. Social worker uses
conscious self-control over himself/herself all the
time. The professional integrity of social worker is
based on the understanding that public interest is
above self-interest. The Professional constantly strives
to develop a sound professional philosophy based on
nurturing of values, attitudes, feelings and responses
for creating a positive climate. Positive professional
relationship is a feeling of mutual respect, trust
and confidence with one another. It can be experienced
rather than measured. It can be felt in most favourable
situations. For example: When people are warm,
friendly, relaxed, open, free with one another, it
creates an atmosphere of respect for human being
and for human values. Pride in the quality of work
done also creates a positive climate. It contributes
to success of total enterprise. Persons who are well
related to one another seek for an even higher
standard of performance. We have to consider that
every human being has dignity and worth, strength
and weaknesses and capacity for growth and change.
Trustworthiness, responsibility, articulating sound
philosophy for personal growth, good channels of
communication etc. ensures positive climate. A positive
climate is created when agency procedures and policies
are clear. Positive climate is also the result of sharing
of work together.
Social work studies social needs to understand them.
If we have to understand our groups, we meet to
understand the community situation in which the
group members live, their needs, influence of family
life and other social political forces affecting them.
In this chapter we studied the essentials of social
welfare administration as a method of social work.
It is both a specialized professional activity to
administer care provisions for the vulnerable and
disadvantaged section of the society as well as an
activity to achieve social development and
developmental social work practice. It uses scientific
methods of social work as well as skills in
communication, administration and management.
It organises and implements social welfare
programmes. It makes the social welfare agencies
efficient to administer its programmes and services.
We also observed that its major thrust is transferring
social welfare policies and social legislations into
programmes of social services, social welfare services,
personal social services and social work programmes.
The application of social work administration in e-governance sector is also essential.