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Policies help clubs run safely, efficiently and ethically. That’s why they should be reviewed regularly to ensure they’re up-to-date. In this article, we explain how else you could improve your policies so they’re as effective and actionable as possible.

Policies typically consist of three parts

  1. A statement section – often a single page – describing how something will be managed. For example, for a Track and Trace Policy, this page might include an introduction outlining the purpose of the policy, a definition of what Track and Trace is, and an example of the policy in action
  2. An organisation section that describes responsibility allocation and employee involvement within the management system – essentially, who is responsible for what
  3. An arrangements section that may refer to other documents in larger organisations, such as manuals or employee handbooks

It can be challenging to know where to start when updating policies, as we recently discussed in our supportive Facebook Group. What’s important? And how can you ensure you ensure you’re focusing on the right areas?

Here are some helpful pointers to get you started.

Be clear

Your members need to understand your policies, so be specific and open about them. This especially applies to privacy and data protection.

For this policy, you should:

  • Make it clear how you collect, protect and, in some cases, share your members’ data and information
  • Outline your obligation to share requested information, for example, with Track and Trace

Be proactive

Key policies, such as safeguarding and welfare, need to be reviewed regularly to ensure you are keeping members safe. But not just that – you need to ensure your team is forward-thinking and upholds these policies at all times.

You may want to:

  • Consider having separate policies for adults and children, or try and articulate both sets of policies in one document
  • Host workshops to raise awareness and update your policies. Anti-bullying week is an excellent time to schedule one in

Be accountable

Your code of conduct should set a standard and expectation of behaviour for everyone involved – directors, coaches, officials, athletes, and parents. Don’t let this policy sit at the back of your shelf or as a PDF in a forgotten computer folder!

  • Codes of conduct are only helpful if you communicate and follow them, so make sure they are at the heart of everything you do
  • Ensure you vary codes of conduct slightly depending on whom they apply to. They should all work towards the same goal

Be strategic

Extensive, rambling policies are challenging to review and update. You can make it easier by creating an overview and then divide the policy into sections.

  • List other, smaller policies, such as social media, under larger sections like communication. That way, you’re keeping policies that overlap together
  • Consider having a condensed version for guidance, and use the full version for reference. This makes it easier to communicate your policies across your club

Be specific

Policies can help you avoid confusion and frustration, particularly when it comes to communication. By being specific and accurate in your policy, you can support your members and your team.

Communication styles have changed a lot in recent times, and your members may expect you to respond more quickly to their queries.

  • Manage expectations by letting members know when they will get a response from you
  • Let members know how to communicate with you, i.e. which channels to use depending on their query

What else you should know about policies

There are no hard and fast rules about how long your policies should be, or how often you need to review them.

But by making sure you regularly review them and respond to incidents or near-misses, you can ensure that your sports club and members are protected at all times.

This article was based on a Facebook Live event by Alex Row, LoveGymnastics Community Ambassador – watch it on YouTube. If you’re involved with a sports club / organisation and would like to see more content like this plus take part in the discussion, join our dedicated Facebook Communities:

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