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Is there a standard best practice format for writing any policy and procedure


I am delivering a teaching session to middle managers on Policies and Procedures. The main objectives are:- to get them to understand the difference between a policy and a proedure and develop a policy with supporting procedures for implementation using a standard format
I can find very few references to support what I am trying to demonstrate and was wondering if anyone can help?
petra chew

2 Responses

  1. Policy & Procedures

    I would comment as follows:

    A policy is the company view on a particular issue and may incorporate communication of the company culture ie commitment to duty of care, empowering, etc. It should incorporate a statement of how the company thinks about a particular issue and be followed by the over riding principles.

    A procedure is a step by step guide of how to carry out the policy ideally clarified as much as possible to avoid ambiguity which can occur in very brief procedures.

    I hope this helps.

    Sandra Beale

  2. Be tougher…
    Building on Sandra’s comments I would emphasise (I come from an engineering/manufacturing background…) the need for adherence.

    A procedure should be followed, as much as is possible within the bounds of interpretation, to the letter. A guide is a guide, as is a policy. A rule is in one sense a very closely defined policy (not open to interpretation) where failure to comply WILL result in a sanction. A rule that does not have sanctions upheld and imposed is no long a rule, it is at best a guide, and usually, at worst, a joke.

    Why this emphasis? IMHO a procedure is designed to deliver performance with minimum variation, to do so quickly, cheaply, to appropriate standards, and with maximum practical consideration for health, safety and the environment. Framing a procedure as a guide invites and encourages greater variation, leading to more difficult performance management, probable fall in performance per se, and worse health, safet and environmental impacts.

    Again IMHO and experience organisations go wrong when they don’t make these distinctions clear to themselves or the employees.

    This should perhaps make it a little easier now to consider format and content. I am not aware of standard formats for these documents, though I would suggest that procedures be very detailed, consider health, safety, environment AND customer at every step, and each step should be defined in terms of what is to be achieved in measurable terms, to what standard, again in measurable terms, and under what conditions. Such a format will also make it easier to identify the competencies needed to perform each step, so easier to link training to activity and results.

    Good luck!

    Martin Schmalenbach


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