Policy development is one of the responsibilities of a Committee of Management and ensures that there is clear accountability and expectations within an organisation.
A policy consists of a statement of purpose and broad guidelines to identify desired outcomes. Once adopted, procedures are developed that ensure compliance to the outcomes specified in the policy.
While policy formulation is a committee responsibility, it is important that volunteers and staff have input into policies to ensure that their opinions are taken into account.
Committees should establish a policy sub-committee to write and consider the policies required. The use of a sub-committee will assist in utilizing time efficiently, although the whole committee will need to support policies when they are adopted.
Discussion around policies however should not stop at a committee level. Staff and volunteers should be able to provide input, as often they will be affected by these policies.
Encouraging input and discussion helps ensure relevant policies that have the support of not just the committee but also the wider organisation. While committees establish policies it is often the staff and volunteers who establish the procedures to implement their outcomes. As such it is important that they are accepted within an organisation and that there is an understanding of their importance and objectives.
A workshop can be a useful tool to encourage and facilitate input to refine policies and discuss their effects. Depending on the number of participants and areas of focus, a workshop can be held as one session or split into groups to work on specific policies. Either way, it is useful to explain the purpose of policy that is discussed and the reasons behind developing or renewing policies.
This afternoon I facilitated a workshop for the Maroondah Citizens Advice Bureau so that staff and volunteers could provide input into six policies that have been developed for the organisation. While the participants were in agreement with the intent of these policies the additional feedback provided further refinement and agreement.
Policy formulation is an ongoing challenge for organisations and yet they are required to ensure consistency and good governance. Policy development can be a positive experience if discussion is encouraged and if there is acceptance of their content.
Please contact Syneka if you would like to discuss policy formulation within your organisation.