Steps in Policy Development

Here is a suggested process for policy development. Research and consultation are key step in the process. A sound policy is built upon good consultation with those who will be affected by the policy.


Identify and define the problem or issue that necessitates the development of a policy

The organisation also needs to know and understand the purpose of policies and to recognise that the issue or problem can be effectively dealt with by the creation or modification of a policy.


Appoint a person or person(s) to co-ordinate the policy development process

The policy development process may take place over several months. There needs to be someone or perhaps a committee who is "driving" the process.


Establish the policy development process

The process requires research, consultation and policy writing tasks. The co-ordinator should develop a plan of what tasks need to be done, by whom and when.


Conduct research

  • Read policy documents created by other organisations on the same topic
  • Research legislation on the Internet
  • Conduct a meeting with staff and other people with experience
  • Survey participants or a particular group of participants such as coaches
  • Read minutes of management committee meetings (if allowed)
  • Read other documents such as annual reports or event reports
  • Read industry magazines and journals
  • Seek legal advice
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    Prepare a discussion paper

    The purpose of the discussion paper is to explain the nature of the problem or issue, to summarise information yielded by research and to suggest a number of policy options. The discussion paper will be an important tool in the process of consultation.


    Consultation - Stage 1

    Circulating the discussion paper to all stakeholders (interested parties) is a first step in the consultation process. It may also be necessary to telephone stakeholders and send notices to remind stakeholders to read the discussion paper. It is then important to gain as much feedback from stakeholders as possible. This may be effected through workshops, open meetings, your web site and by meetings with individuals. Several months may be required to ensure that this stage of consultation is thorough.


    Prepare a draft policy

    When there has been sufficient time for consultation processes to be completed the next step is to prepare a draft policy.


    Consultation - Stage 2

    When the draft policy is completed it should be circulated to key stakeholders, published in the organisation's newsletter and web site, discussed in further meetings and forums. At this stage it is necessary to seek help from stakeholders to fine tune the wording, clarify meaning and make adjustments to the policy before it is finalised.



    When the co-ordinator of the policy development process is reasonably satisfied that all issues and concerns about the policy have been aired and dealt with, it is time to finalise the policy. The final policy document needs to be formally adopted by the management of the organisation (management committee) with an appropriate record entered in to the minutes.



    Following formal adoption of the policy it should be communicated far and wide throughout the organisation and stakeholders. Training sessions may need to be conducted to ensure that organisation personnel are fully informed and able to implement the policy. If the policy is not well communicated it may fail.


    Review and evaluate

    The implementation of the policy should be monitored. The policy may still require further adjustments and furthermore the reasons for the policies existence may change. A general practise is to set a date for the policy to be reviewed, this might be one a year or once in every three years. It just depends on the nature of the policy.

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