How to Do a Policy Outline

Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

A policy is a document that typically regroups a set of rules, guidelines and organizational principles. It defines the way things are done in a specific group and outlines the standards of practice for a company. When creating new policies, it is important to plan ahead and define an outline for each section and component of the policy. Some companies put in place templates designed to facilitate the policy-making process by defining a specific outline structure that does not change from one policy to another.

Determine which type of policy you are writing. Typically, policies fall in the services, human resources or administration categories. If your company has policy templates, pick the one that belongs to the desired category of policy and fill it out. If there are no templates available, keep following the next steps.

Identify the needs and objectives for the policy. Various triggers might provoke the need for a new policy. External or internal requirements, identified gaps, regular policy reviews, change initiatives or developments are all common triggers that warrant a new policy. The objective of your policy should confirm that you have chosen the correct type, and it will guide you in defining the required sections.

List the main sections and components of your policy. Possible sections are scope, history, goals and objectives, strategies, service and management principles, processes, procedures, organizational structures, administration, evaluations and appendices. Depending on the scope and breadth of the policy, the number of sections will vary.

Draft the main points for each component listed. Write bullet points for each category. Create sub-categories if some components belong within a larger category. For example, under introduction, you can include history, goals and objectives as well as policy scope.

Organize all the items in a logical order. Start with the most general principles and categories, and then list the more detailed sections. Regroup similar content around specific processes. Introductions are always at the beginning and appendices should always come last.

Use your policy outline to create a template for future similar policies. Leave the same categories and sub-categories as they now are in your outline, but remove the main important bullet points that are specific to your policy. Replace with instructions about which type of content belongs in which section.

References

About the Author

Marie-Pier Rochon has been writing since 2005. She has served as a writer at PlaceForPoeple and a newsletter writer for the Creative Sydney festival. Previously, Rochon also worked as a communications adviser for various Canadian federal agencies. She earned a Bachelor of Arts with honors in organizational communications from the University of Ottawa.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images