Creating & using policies A few practical pointers
• Check the ITC website Resources section to see if we have produced a document or guidance that you can use as your starting point. Check with us as you draft anyway, whenever you wish to.
• Make sure your policy is based on the relevant legislation – ask ITC and/or check www.gov.uk.
• But don’t write pages and pages setting out the law, just summarise the points that are key to actions.
• Check what your organisation really needs to do before writing a policy that says what you will do.
• Make your policy practical and practicable. The basics for the main policy documents you should have are set out below.
Data Protection & Privacy Policies:
- For data protection issues do an audit of the data you hold and how you store and use it, before writing a policy that ensures you do this in a way that complies with the law.
- Write in the context of your own organisation – for example a membership body will hold personal data for different reasons from a theatre company.
- Make sure that your policy balances your organisation’s needs and the purposes for which you hold specific data.
Dignity at Work Policies:
- When drafting, remember that at the core of this policy there should be a positive approach to improving workplace relationships. It should be about your organisation’s commitment to treating all employees with respect as well as defining and codifying what is unacceptable behaviour, such as bullying and harassment. It should be more than just an extension of your
Disciplinary & Grievance policies.
Unite the union has a Dignity at Work action pack, which recommends engaging employees in actively
• defining the types of behaviour they find unacceptable
• deciding how they would like these to be dealt with
• defining types of behaviour they find acceptable
In other words, what rejecting unacceptable behaviour and promoting dignity at work mean in practice.
Make sure that your policy includes -
• A statement expressing the organisation’s opposition to unacceptable behaviour.
• Clear definitions of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.
• Advice on informal action to deal with incidents of unacceptable behaviour
• Advice on formal action to deal with incidents of unacceptable behaviour
• A complaints’ procedure, including clear guidelines on issues such as confidentiality.
Disciplinary & Grievance Policies:
ITC strongly recommends that you use the ACAS Code of Practice and do not write your own policy. If you currently have Disciplinary & Grievance Policies check that these are in line with the ACAS Code.
The ITC website has guidance on Equality Law, which includes a basic policy template. If you want to have more detail look at the ACAS guide Equality Discrimination - Understand the Basics
Health & Safety at Work:
The Health & Safety Executive’s guidance for small businesses Health & Safety Made Simple contains a useful policy document template that we recommend.