This document should be interpreted in line with the standard policy context (contained in paragraphs 1.2 to 1.8 below) and definitions (contained in appendix 1 of this document). The editor of this document is the CEO.
1 The standard Policy context
All organisational documents should be interpreted to be consistent with the wider body of already approved organisational policies, procedures, definitions and documents; as well as legislation and statutory guidance.
The view of the trustees is final in any questions of interpretation of organisational documents.
Policies apply to all staff (and volunteers, trustees, members and anyone else who is working officially on behalf of the organisation, as per our definition of ‘staff’). Associate volunteers, supporters, visitors or anyone else working alongside organisational staff, but not formally enrolled in the organisation, will be working to equivalent policies of their own organisation (which must be consistent with our own policies) and which offer the same kinds of safeguards, and high expectations with regard to outcomes, as our own policies. In the absence of equivalent policies, or in the case of difficulties of interpretation or application, then individuals working alongside Edlumino are expected to be working to the Edlumino policies.
When working within England and Wales it is the responsibility of staff to ensure that they know the requirements of relevant legislation and statutory guidance; as well as any relevant good practice. Individuals must plan their professional development to ensure that they keep themselves up to date.
When working outside of the UK, the policies and procedures for working in England and Wales should always be followed, and only modified to the extent strictly necessary in order to meet any differing requirements of law in other jurisdictions.
Staff must follow all policies and any approved local procedures. Failure to do so is a potential disciplinary offence. In the most serious circumstances it could constitute gross misconduct and lead to dismissal.
Policies are not contractual documents. They may be updated and amended as necessary and appropriate by the organisation.
2 The purpose of this document
The purpose of this document is to ensure policy reviewers and policy writers understand the appropriate style, structure, and content for organisational policies.
This document is also the policy location for any common text or information which other policies contain, or link to.
3 Policy Structure
The structure of a policy document should follow the needs of the specific matter constituting the policy. Formal templates which artificially lengthen documents should not be used.
A policy should open with a policy title and a reference number. Policy numbers are prefixed with a Pol and are taken sequentially from the next number available. See the reference at the top of this document. (Any accompanying procedure should have the same number as the policy it relates to but they are prefixed with a “Pro” for procedure and also a three letter code for the site they relate to).
The information about a policy should be included beneath the title. This information consists of policy number, date and policy version. The date is the date when the policy was agreed by trustees (in the format “Jan-2015” (etc)). Policy versions are a ‘ver’, number and letter (eg ver-3e)
There is no need to give a separate vision, values, philosophy, or success criteria for a policy. It should always be assumed that the existence of the policy is to further the already agreed vision, values, success criteria (etc) of the organisation.
Policies should not include sections on roles and responsibilities. Where policies have implications for specific roles and responsibilities, then the relevant requirements should be contained within the formal job descriptions of the relevant posts, rather than in the policy document itself.
4 Policy content
Organisational documents should always be as short, simple and direct as possible, written in straight forward English with a reading age ideally in the range of 10-14. This is intended to maximise accessibility and usage
All content in policies should be in paragraphs with clearly defined paragraph numbers, as modelled by this document.
A policy document is a document authorised by trustees. Only matters which explicitly require the authority, or oversight, of the trustees should be included in a policy document. Other information or guidance matters should be contained in Procedures.
Trustees may require that a common form is used and so a policy may include a link or reference to a form. However the content of the Form itself should normally be considered a procedure, which is drawn up by staff and issued on the authority of the policy editor. The content of a form (which is linked to from a policy) is therefore not part of the policy requiring trustees authorisation. Forms can therefore be updated as necessary without having to review or amend a policy.
The writing style for policies should follow the Organisational Style Guide.
Different policy documents should not repeat blocks of common material or information (apart from the exception in 3.10). Where there are common blocks of information, they should be recorded in one place and then “linked to” from each policy. Repetition of identical material in different locations makes it more likely for documents to get out of synchronisation and become erroneous.
If a policy is following statutory guidance, then it should simply state the fact and give the link to the relevant guidance. The details from the guidance should not be repeated in the policy.
Policies should be written and formatted, so that they can be read easily on mobile devices without having to be downloaded in separate software. This means that there should be no headers, footers, footnotes, or other matters which will make it harder to access when viewed on mobile (small) screens.
Page numbers should not be used. The main form of referencing is paragraph numbers. This is because a visually impaired reader may enlarge a policy font in order to make it accessible. Enlarging the font will change the amount of text on a (printed) page and so the text itself on specific pages, and at specific page references, will change.
Each Policy must include a named ‘editor’ of that policy who is the senior member of staff responsible for ensuring that that policy is maintained, reviewed, consulted upon, updated, presented to the trustees and then (if agreed) published onto the organisations website.
Each policy should end with the agreed conclusion (as modelled in this document). This serves to denote the end of the policy document.
Wherever possible, graphics, signatures and pictures should be avoided in policy documents, so that the document is maximally accessible to those with a disability using an automated reader.
5 Policy Review
Policies should be reviewed whenever developments within education or the organisation suggest that a review would be appropriate.
Ideally the organisation should review each policy every two years. As this is a common principle for all policies, there is therefore no need to state a policy review date on each policy. The need to ensure an equal distribution of policies for trustees to review at meetings, may mean reviewing individual policies earlier, or later, than would otherwise be the case, however no policy should ever normally go beyond 3 years without review.
6 Impact Assessing Policies
When a draft policy is complete it should be impact assessed for Environment and Equality factors, using the standard Impact Assessment Form (Form 3). If an impact assessment denotes a need to change a draft policy, then those changes should be implemented and the policy re-written and then re-impact assessed. The published Impact Assessment will therefore often contain few, if any, significant issues, as the issues should all have been identified previously and then resolved and eradicated in the policy, by the time that it is published for organisational use.
The following measures will be assumed across all policies and so do not need separate impact assessing or control measures adding.
Writing fonts are defined as sans serif within the Style Guide.
Documents will be accessed from web pages and so will be capable of being supported by standard software for the visually impaired. Wherever possible graphics and similar objects will not be used in policies.
The needs of those with physical disabilities may require the extending of deadlines or greater flexibility in the implementation of procedures. This should be taken into account across all policies with a standard assumption that ‘reasonable adjustments’ will be made where necessary.
There may be need to vary timelines and deadlines for pregnant staff, or staff returning to work after a pregnancy. This should be assumed as falling under the principle of reasonable adjustment and so does not need separate assessing and control measures.
Gender terminology will follow the usages of standard English.
Impact Assessments should always be presented with policies to trustees as part of the approval process. They should be publicly available but not normally included with the text of a policy, as this unnecessarily lengthens the policy document.
7 Policy publication
A policy can only be published to the website when it has been approved by Trustees. Approval by the trustees constitutes authorisation of the policy.
This Policy has been Impact Assessed for Environment and Equality considerations. Policy review follows the Review cycle (contained in Appendix 2 of this document).