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Policies and procedures

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A clear, appropriate and coherent set of policies and procedures help ensure that your organisation is well run.

Policies and procedures: 

  • Ensure compliance with the law and regulation.
  • Provide appropriate controls including a framework for delegation by the board of trustees to staff or volunteers that set out how things should be done and what is expected of people. 
  • Transparency and accountability that the board of trustees will be conducting the work of the charity appropriately.
  • Limit risk.

Creating policies and procedures

Policies are clear, simple statements of how your organisation intends to conduct its services, actions or business. They provide a set of guiding principles to help with decision making. Policies don't need to be long or complicated – a couple of sentences may be all you need for each policy area.

Procedures describe how each policy will be put into action in your organisation. Each procedure should outline:

  • Who will do what
  • What steps they need to take
  • Which forms or documents to use.

Procedures might just be a few bullet points or instructions. Sometimes they work well as forms, checklists, instructions or flowcharts.

Policies and their accompanying procedures will vary between workplaces because they reflect the values, approaches and commitments of a specific organisation and its culture. But they share the same role in guiding your organisation.

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 compliant with the law and your organisation’s governing document. 

Suggested Core Policies

Essential: You must have a written health and safety policy if you employ five or more people. An organisation of any size must conduct a health and safety risk assessment. 

Safeguarding policy for children and young people and/or vulnerable adults (if applicable)

Privacy Policy incl. Data Protection and GDPR

Equality & Diversity Policy with particular regard to anti-discrimination and harassment of employees and volunteers as well as service users                                                                                              

Risk management incl. assessment and mitigation

Finance – including a financial procedures manual and a reserves policy

Board basics – a Trustee Code of Conduct; Conflict of interest policy; and Trustee Expenses policy

Other Common Policies and Procedures

The following areas are some of the more common polices that would benefit from being written down. You don’t necessarily need to adopt all the policies listed below and some specific policies you might need may not be listed. This is for the trustee board to decide.


Adoption leave and pay

Adverse weather and travel disruption

Anti-harassment and bullying

Compassionate leave

Data protection

Disciplinary procedure

Emergency/Dependants leave

Equal opportunities


Flexible working

Grievance procedure

Health and safety policy and risk assessment

Information technology

Maternity leave and pay

Paternity leave and pay




Shared parental leave

Sickness absence

Social media


Time off for public duties


Volunteer Management

Recruitment and selection policy

Expenses policy

Insurance provision for volunteers

Problem solving procedures

Code of conduct

Volunteer agreement

Office Management

Acceptable use of IT/Email & Internet Use

Environmental Impact 

Personal, or associated group, use of facilities

Remote Working


External relations

Complaints policy (for members, service users, supporters and/or public)

Media policy (who can speak for the organisation)

Fundraising and donations acceptance and refusal practical guide (PDF)


Acas and CIPD provide good guidance to develop policies.

Page last edited Dec 10, 2021

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