Policy goals and objectives

Policies are a mechanism for controlling the behaviour of an organisation by governing the behaviour of people who work within that organisation. Policies exist to ensure, in a given situation, that people will behave in a way that is predictable, advisable and in the best interests of the organisation and the person.

There should be a reason why a policy exists. A policy is not formulated unless it is thought to be necessary or to have a benefit. In other words the policy exists for a purpose and this may be often expressed in the form of an "underpinning principle".

For example, the underpinning principle for a Quality Service Policy might be to protect the brand of the organisation. Here are a few more examples.


Example underpinning principle

Child Protection Policy Increase the acceptability of the sport (and organisation) by the Community
Coach Education and Accreditation Policy Ensure standards of coaching meeting expectations of members/customers
Club Development Policy Promote participation growth
Quality Customer Service Policy Protect the organisation's brand

Policy Goals

Following on from the Underpinning Principle, a policy will also have "goals". These goals describe the range of desired outcomes or what is to be achieved by implementing the policy.

For example, if you developed your own driving policy, the underpinning principle might be the preservation of life while you drive. However the policy might have several goals not necessarily directly connected with the underpinning principle.

For example, a Driving Policy might have the following goals:

Goal 1: Minimise the risk of injury and damage

Goal 2: Maintenance of good driving record

Goal 3: Low insurance premiums

Goal 4: Lower repairs and maintenance costs

Note: There may be other worthy goals not mentioned here.

When there is a need to write a policy where none existed before, a worthwhile and appropriate place start by determining the underpinning principle and formulating goals.

Policy Objectives

There is always confusion about the difference between Goals and Objectives but they are not the same. Measurability is always considered to be an important principle in setting objectives. In regard to the above policy goals the following might be policy objectives.

Minimise the risk of injury and damage No accidents, self-caused or otherwise
Maintenance of good driving record Driving infringement points to 3 per year
Low insurance premiums Insurance premiums below $600 pa
Lower repairs and maintenance costs Repairs and maintenance below $1000 pa

It is perfectly possible to write a policy that does not have measurable objectives and it will serve the organisations need. Goals are probably sufficient enough but if you have to write objectives at least the above table provides some example.

Perhaps more important that Policy Objectives is the written guidance contained within the policy that helps the reader understand what they have to do in order to adhere to the policy. This written guidance needs to very well worded, unambiguous and clear, otherwise the policy will be of little use.

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