The making of a policy advocacy project : the case of hope development account

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The making of a policy advocacy project : the case of hope development account

 

Author: Liu, Shun-chi
Title: The making of a policy advocacy project : the case of hope development account
Degree: M.Phil.
Year: 2011
Subject: Poverty -- Government policy -- China -- Hong Kong.
Public welfare -- China -- Hong Kong.
Endowments -- China -- Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Applied Social Sciences
Pages: 318 p. : ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2462506
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/6273
Abstract: This study aims at exploring the making of a policy advocacy project, 'Hope Development Account' (HDA) that addressed poverty problem in Hong Kong, in terms of the emergent process and the contributing factors that enable the launching of the pilot project. HDA, commenced in mid-2007, was the first attempt to build upon the theory and practice of the asset-building approach to poverty alleviation as similar practices were found since 1990s in USA, Taiwan, Canada, and UK. It is of significant theoretical and practice interest to elucidate the process through how the asset-building model in addressing poverty was evolved and adopted locally. Extended case method and a variety of data collection methods were adopted in this study, which includes document review, participant observations and a total of seventeen in-depth interviews were conducted with administrators and the frontline social workers of the host organization, local academics, representatives from charity organizations that provide the funding, and participants of the project. Multiple Streams Model of policy making (J.W. Kingdon, 1995) is used as the conceptual framework that guides the investigation and interpretation of the findings of this study. This model suggests that there are three central dynamics or 'streams' that determine which issues could gain a status in the political agenda and which action would be adopted to address the problem on the agenda. These three streams are the problem, policy and political streams. The problem stream contains the attributes and variation of a problem, and whether the public and elite are conscious of it through focusing event. The policy stream involves the potential solutions to a problem while the political stream encompasses the state of politics and public opinion. In this thesis, the three main contributing factors and the involved roles and policy practices by social work practitioners will be discussed and examined in the context of the HDA project.
The three main contributing factors, including a new perspective on poverty, the evolved asset-building model and the coalition, are vital for the launching of HDA. The important role of asset in addressing poverty, as a new perspective on poverty, has been taken on by practitioners through analyzing the poverty situation and identifying the deficiencies of current poverty measures. The evolution of asset-building model which comprises integration of social capital into asset-building model is essential in fitting the local context and also building consensus with local social work practitioners on the feasibility of model. Coincided with favorable climate of the city that is full of concern on the adverse condition of poverty and its corresponding measures due to the occurrence of several major events in Hong Kong, it was timely for HDA practitioners to build coalition in soliciting support from various sectors in the society. Moreover, it is found that the interactive effect between these three contributing factors was a necessary condition for the launching of HDA. Amidst the development of these three contributing factors, various strategies of policy practice used by the practitioners were identified. These strategies include monitoring problem condition, analysis on current measures, defining new perspective on the problem, localization of asset-building model, consensus building among social work practitioners, client empowerment, lobbying, and consensus building among community members. Furthermore, it is also found that social work practitioners have performed five roles in the launching HDA. These roles include policy expert, policy conduit, change agent, enable and broker. Five recommendations are made based on the findings of this study. First, a prolonged attention on social problem is proposed for social work practitioners in order to discover and take on a new perspective on the problem and bring a new direction of measures. Second, it is recommended for social work practitioners to make attempt on new practice model since a lot of insights and implications on policy formation would emerge. Third, the importance of estimating and seizing the right timing with favorable climate in advocating proposed solutions is also proposed for the social work practitioners. Forth, a collaborative model of developing policy advocacy project in aggregating the strengths and supports of collaborators, which could be used as a reference point for the local social work practitioner, is proposed. Lastly, this study also raises the need of training social workers to take on multiple roles and equip them with respective knowledge and skills in policy advocacy work.

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