Policies and Procedures Checklist

Article modified: February 2021, Author:


Has your organisation got all the policies or procedures it needs? The following does not pretend to be complete, or what everybody needs, but it is a starting point. We have grouped these, but an item can address more than one area in practice. Try not to be overwhelmed by the length of the list – some will only need to be short, but a bit of careful thought now can save major problems later. New organisations shouldn’t try to achieve perfection too quickly (unless you’ve got loads of resources) – identify the most important for your situation and get those right first.

The difference between Policy and Procedure, and quite what goes where, gets a lot of people confused. We would say that procedures follow on from policy – how you do it in practice – and can be a separate document or a section of the same. It is often worth trying to be clear, as a policy change may or may not alter the procedure, while a necessary change in procedure should not be allowed to change the policy by default. It should be clear in a procedure which policy or policies it relates to.

Other sector resources on policies and procedures

Resource Centre Did have following material: The Chair’s job, Legal structures, News release, The Secretary’s job, Constitutions, Media contacts, The Treasurer’s job, Bank accounts, State your case, AGM checklist, Running a creche, Radio interviews.

Community Toolkit, managed by Skye and Lochalsh CVO, has lots of useful material. Note that on some matters Scottish law varies from English/Welsh.

Search on NCVO’s Knowhow Nonprofit site for policies you are interested in.

Basic requirements

  • Health and Safety Policy and Procedure. See H&S issue page. Could include:
    • Workstation assessment procedure.
    • Fire safety.
  • Equal Opportunities Statement of Intent. See Equal Opps bodies for some guidance. Could include:
    • Harassment.
    • reference to Recruitment procedure.
  • Confidentiality Policy (including Data Protection – see Info Management page).
  • Risk Assessment. This was under H&S, but the current charity SORP (accounting standard) requires trustees to consider risks and review the steps needed to mitigate them much more widely. See sample document, and the Insurances/Risk Management issues page.


  • Volunteers. See Volunteers page for sources of advice.
    • Basic Policy (when you would use volunteers, how to recruit/assess suitability, management, two-way ‘contract’).
    • Expenses Policy (with due regard to Inland Revenue rules – see Finance Procedures or Tax and Expenses page).
  • Staff Disciplinary procedure.
  • Staff Grievance procedure.
  • Staff Appraisal procedure. See sample Appraisal Form.
  • Supervision.
  • Staff expenses – see Finance Procedures below and refer to Pay, Tax and Expenses page
  • Staff loans (travel, cycle, car).
  • Union recognition Policy.
  • Sick Leave Policy and procedure.
  • Leave policy and procedure.
  • Time off in Lieu Policy and procedure.
  • Public Duties.

People management issues are covered further on the linked page.

  • NCVO will send model standard and fixed term employment contracts in return for an sae to the Helpdesk, NCVO, Regent’s Wharf, 8 All Saints Street, London, N1 9RL (helpdesk phone 0845 600 4500).
  • See Employment page for more sources of advice, including relevant government regulations.

Office Management

  • Green Office Policy/Environmental Impact. See issues page.
  • E-mail/internet use policy.
  • Personal, or associated group, use of office facilities.
  • Security.

Also see Admin page for issues.

Ethics, Empowerment, Improvement

  • Complaints Procedure (for members, service users, public).
  • Service user/member involvement.
  • Training policy (staff, volunteers and committee members).
  • Quality/monitoring policy (see Planning & Evaluation page).
  • Staff involvement policy.
  • (A learning organisation policy makes little sense in isolation – see notes under People Management.)
  • Ethical Investment Policy. See Ethical Investment page.
  • Whistleblowing.
  • Child/vulnerable adult protection (if working in these areas) – ‘safeguarding’.


  • Sponsorship or Fundraising Policy.
  • Partnership working. See issues page, including Compacts with public sector funders which should be common to all organisations in the area.
  • Campaigning Policy. Methods, issues, co-operation?
  • Media Handling – who is authorised to say what, how to handle probing questions. Think about before a sensitive issue hits! See Getting the message across.
  • Supplier selection (fairness or reasons for preferences such as environmental or social, value for money, reference to Finance Procedures).


See Finance Resources page.

  • Insurances (possibly for events, volunteers, trustees etc. as well legal requirements).
  • Reserves Policy (required under Charity SORP).
  • Other accounting policies often part of audit process (eg valuation of assets).
  • Financial Policies and Procedures. See Sample.


See Governance page.

  • AGM procedures.
  • Committee Procedures (standing orders). What to do in the absence of the chair, voting, declarations of interest, expenses.
  • Management Committee/Board (and sub-committee) Terms of Reference. Could be part of standing orders. Constitution may give the legal framework, but not usually easy to refer to. Can help to clarify where policy is made, where responsibility for key areas lies (with sub-committee, main committee, chair, senior staff, outside consultant etc). If a registered charity or company, make sure that ‘lines of responsibility’ back to the Board are clear.
  • Job descriptions for officers – chair, treasurer (see sample Financial Procedures), secretary and any others.
  • Conflicts of Interest.

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