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
- safeguarding & 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.