Policies and procedures
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The set of policies and procedures that define, regulate and inform how you and your organisation operates
Several of the policies you need to have result from your obligations in managing people. Induction is a good way of making policies known to new employees, volunteers and trustees, but they also need to be systematically reinforced in a variety of contexts.
You must have a health and safety policy if you employ five or more people and anti-discrimination and harassment policies. The following areas are some of those that would benefit from written policies:
- board responsibilities, conduct at board meetings, composition of the board and committees and the selection of new trustees, role profiles, confidentiality, speaking to the media, conflict of interest etc
- finance (internal financial procedures including money laundering under the Proceeds of Crime Act), investments and reserves
- code of conduct - your 'organisational rules' covering what is acceptable and unacceptable
- data protection
- equal opportunities
- health and safety
- child protection
- risk management.
Defining good policy
A good policy is:
- easily understood and written in plain, jargon-free English
- has a definite purpose for its creation
- is linked to your strategy
- is flexible and can adapt to change
- is suited to the culture of the organisation
- is developed through the involvement of employees and interested stakeholders
- is communicated to all relevant people.
Source: Published with permission from Cass Centre for Charity Effectiveness. This material is taken from "Tools for Success: doing the right things and doing them right", published in October 2008. Download or buy your copy from Cass Centre for Charity Effectiveness.
How to develop a policy
To develop a policy you must:
- decide whether this is an area where the board or the executive committee should be determining policy
- arrange for a sub-group, member of staff or individual trustee to produce a draft policy for discussion
- discuss (including consultation with trustees, employees, volunteers and service users as applicable) and agree the final version
- in the case of board policy, ensure the entire board ratifies the document and builds in a date for review.
Source: Adapted from The Good Trustee Guide (NCVO).
It can be hard to write a policy from scratch. There are a number of websites which contain sample policies you can download. These are intended as guidance only.
Have your say
Have you written your own policies or did you adapt them from elsewhere? Are there any other policies that you have found are useful to have?
Share your knowledge on the Day-to-day operations forum.