A question often asked is – ‘What are board policies and what policies do boards typically oversee?’
Why are policies important?
Policies help provide guidance and consistency to members and stakeholders.
How often should the board review their policies?
This can depend on the context the organisation is operating within. For a relatively stable organisation, it might review its policies every three to five years. Still, an organisation starting up might choose to review its policies more frequently.
Policy formation and review can be an area which organisations struggle with. While they might understand the importance of written documentation to guide the effective running of the business, it can be challenging to get it right. Using a critical policy framework can help. Firstly, organisations should establish a policy hierarchy by determining which documents should take precedence. They should also set out a process for developing new policies, and the roles and responsibilities of those involved in making the policies should be made clear.
- Policies are essential for maintaining consistency and helping the board achieve its goals.
- They represent the board’s voice when it is not around, and regular review is critical if they are to succeed.
- The key types of policies the board might focus on include board membership agreements, code of conduct policies, conflicts of interest and gift acceptance policies, along with discrimination and whistleblower policies.