How to develop policies
You may be able to save time by looking at other organisation’s policies or templates as a starting point. Be sure to check they are appropriate for your organisation and you should adapt them for your circumstances. You should also check that the policies you adopt are respecting your organisation’s values as set in your governing document. Hunts Forum has a selection of template policies and will help you source individual examples according to your needs.
It is not expected that your board will necessarily develop these policies, but your board should ensure that those needed are in place, are followed and updated as appropriate. Remember policies should be live documents that are used and adhered to and reviewed. Here are some policies that might be very relevant for your organisation:
A reserves policy explains to existing and potential funders, donors and other stakeholders why a charity is holding a particular amount of reserves. A good reserves policy gives confidence to stakeholders that the charity’s finances are being managed and can also provide an indicator of future funding needs.
Conflict of interest policy
All trustees need to be alert to possible conflicts of interest which they might have and to how they can minimise their effects. A key aspect of minimising the effects of conflicts of interest is to be open and transparent about such situations when they arise. The Charity Commission recommends that all trustees advise their charity of any actual or potential conflicts of interest of which they are aware, as soon as they arise and that charities have a policy on how they will deal with any conflicts which arise as a result of the work which the charity undertakes. A policy can include guidance on the procedures to follow when a trustee is subject to a conflict of interest, such as the removal of the trustee concerned from the decision-making process, managing the conflict of interest once a decision has been made recording details of the discussions and decisions made.
Health and safety policy
Health and safety are important, and the standard of care imposed by legislation is pretty much the same regardless of the size of the organisation. All organisations must carry out a risk assessment identifying the risks to employees, other workers, clients, members of the public and anyone who comes onto the organisation’s premises or uses its services. They must then draw up a health and safety scheme setting out a programme to reduce the risks, or to minimise the negative impact if they do happen. The risk assessment and scheme must be in writing if the employer has more than four employees. For these purposes, it is probably best to count any volunteer doing more than a few hours a week as an employee. As legislation changes, we recommend that you research the latest Health and Safety legislation as this may have changed since the current document was written.
Safeguarding policy for children
A child protection policy is a statement of intent that demonstrates a commitment to safeguarding children involved with a charity from harm. The essential inclusions for a child protection policy are:
- the welfare of the child is paramount
- all children without exception have the right to protection from abuse regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality or beliefs
- the policy is approved and endorsed by the board of trustees
- who the policy applies to (for example, all trustees, staff and volunteers)
- children and parents are informed of the policy and procedures as appropriate
- all concerns and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously by trustees, staff and volunteers and responded to appropriately – this may require a referral to children’s services and in emergencies, the police
- a commitment to safe recruitment, selection and vetting
- reference to principles, legislation and guidance that underpin the policy, and
- arrangements for policy and procedures review; reference to all associated policies and procedures which promote children’s safety and welfare, for example, with regards to health and safety, anti-bullying, protection of children online, photography and social media.
Need more help with your policies and procedures? Call our Communities Team on 01480 420604 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.