What is Policy?
A policy is typically described as a principle or rule to guide decisions and achieve rational outcome(s). The term is not normally used to denote what is actually done, this is normally referred to as either procedureor protocol. Policies are generally adopted by the Board of or senior governance body within an organization where as procedures or protocols would be developed and adopted by senior executive officers. Policies can assist in both subjective and objective decision making. Policies to assist in subjective decision making would usually assist senior management with decisions that must consider the relative merits of a number of factors before making decisions and as a result are often hard to objectively. In contrast policies to assist in objective decision making are usually operational in nature and can be objectively tested.
A Policy can be considered as a “Statement of Intent” or a “Commitment”. For that reason at least, the decision-makers can be held accountable for their “Policy”.
The main purpose of “policy” is to guide action. GWS believes in participatory policy making approach with the following characteristics:
It must be written.
It must be authoritative (i.e., made by boards or other legitimate authorities in an organization).
It must be a reference that guides ongoing decision-making and action.
It must be known who are expected to act upon it.
It must be followed by all concerned organizational persons.
It must provide a guideline for action, but it must have not so constricted that it stifles creativity and responsiveness where these are needed.
It must integrate the principles of equality and fairness.
Importance of Policy
The main reasons for having a policy are:
It helps people to do their job. If people have a framework for actions they can get on with their work.
It helps the organization be more efficient. Have a policy frame work reduces the need for people to keep discussing the same issues over and over again.
Policies that promote equality can help prevent the biased or unfair exercise of power.
Clear policies that are consistently applied a sense of order in an organization.
A written policy provides a focal point for organizational improvement. Policy creation is ongoing process. New policies can respond to new visions of equality, new ideas and new need.