Your policies are your written guides to how the group; its committee, staff, volunteers, members and users will act in particular circumstances. It is important to have these policies in place because:

  1. They may be required by law and your funders
  2. They help the organisation be more effective by providing staff and volunteers with a guide as to the correct way to act in certain situations. This means your service is more likely to be consistently working to the same standard. This can also reduce conflict and uncertainty in the organisation, improving morale.
  3. They are also a chance for your organisation to publicly explain its values and ideals, particularly in how it treats staff, volunteers and service users. This can help build a particular culture within your group that puts into practice the ideals that founded it and ensure the organisation keeps to those ideas when the founders have moved on.

 Not many policies are required by law so you won’t need all of them but it is a good idea to identify any gaps and agree a timetable to fill them.  In the list below are the ones you should consider if you need them or not (with links to a template).  Those underlined are ones that the Charity Commission expect charities, or are highly recommended, to have.

 If you are given a model of a particular policy do not simply agree to adopt it. Instead take time to look at the model and adapt it to your group’s needs. A model is a good starting place but may not meet all the demands of your group. Also think about how you will implement the policy and how you will check to see that it is working. CAN will often be able to help you write a policy or adapt a template. You can find CAN’s policies and procedures here.

Trustee policies (see Trustees);
  • Role description for general member and any officer, e.g. Chair
  • Code of Conduct
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Recruitment and Induction policy
  • Declaration (to show person is not disqualified from being a member)
  • Fit and Proper Person test (for tax purposes, see HMRC)
  • Trustee expenses
Equal Opportunities Statement and policy (see Equality and Diversity)
Financial policies (see Looking after the money)
  • Financial control policy
  • Reserves policy
  • Investment
  • Written agreements with all of its professional fundraisers and commercial participators
  • Staff pay policy
Health and Safety (see Health and Safety)

Statutory requirement if you have at least 5 members of staff (NB does not include volunteers). Requirements that need to be followed for premises, staff, volunteers and children; including first aid and what to do with children who are unwell.  If you provide food, being sure to check on dietary requirements and a policy governing food preparation and hygiene that requires those who prepare food to be suitably qualified.

Personnel policies (see Employing People) that cover;

Many of the policies below may be covered within a single contract of employment contract.

  • Compassionate or discretionary leave
  • Confidentiality of information and data protection
  • Flexible working
  • Holiday and leave entitlements
  • Hours of Work including flexible working
  • Disciplinary & grievance procedures
  • Other employment
  • Parental entitlements
  • Pension schemes
  • Probationary period
  • Public duties
  • Sickness entitlements

Many of the procedures governing employee and management relationships and behaviour listed below would be covered by a staff handbook:

  • Access to training
  • Background checks on those working with children and vulnerable adults
  • Arrangements for supervision and appraisal of staff
  • Bullying and Harassment
  • Code of Conduct
  • Expenses procedures
  • Process for applying for and recording annual, parental, compassionate leave
  • Process for applying for and recording sick leave
  • Recruitment and Induction of employees
  • Redundancy procedures
  • Relationship between management committee, managers and union
  • Structure for staff disciplinary and grievance procedures
  • Timekeeping including flexi-time and flexible working
  • Whistle blowing
Premises Management policy that covers;
  • How premises are to be used
  • Who can and cannot use them
  • How premises are to be secured including access to keys
  • Who is responsible for cleaning
  • What are the Health and Safety requirements (maximum numbers, fire exits)
  • Procedures for taking bookings, deposits
  • Who is responsible for arranging insurance for building and people within it
  • Who is responsible for checking that the building is accessible
Risk Management

This should be proportionate to reflect the size, activity, complexity and risks of each organisation. It should consider:

  • Governance
  • Operational
  • Financial
  • External
  • Compliance
Service delivery policies;

This list covers different policies for the different aspects of your organisation’s delivery of services;

  • Complaints Policy. A policy covering volunteers, users and the general public that is accessible to all who want it.
  • Conflict of Interest For staff, volunteers and committee members defining conflicts, how to declare and record (on a form and verbally when relevant) and how they will be managed.
  • Data Protection policy (see Data Protection)
  • Confidentiality policy
  • Evaluation policy. Evaluating the organisation’s services and receiving up to date feedback from users and those caring for users (see Monitoring and Evaluation)
  • Opening hours. When the organisation’s services are available, whether the organisation can be closed (for maintenance) and who decides it, what happens if a worker does not arrive for a shift, contingency plans (e.g. bad weather, power failure, fire/burglary)
  • Outside contacts Who can negotiate or speak on behalf of the organisation and talk to the media
  • Safeguarding policy. Charities are expected to have a policy that protects anyone who comes into contact with the charity including trustees, staff, volunteers, users and members of the public. For those working with children and /or adults at risk there should be detailed rules governing behaviour, recruitment and appropriate handling of incidents. See
  • Standards of service
  • How much work is to be done and to what standards,
  • How quantity and quality are monitored,
  • What happens if work does not meet the required standards
  • What activities, goods, services or facilities will be charged for and price
  • Stock control
  • Use of IT and Equipment Policy Who can use, safety/security regulations, responsibility for repair and maintenance
  • Working methods and procedures Who does what, when and how, job boundaries, who is accountable to whom including a clear and up to date organisational chart
Volunteer policy;

Volunteers are vital for voluntary groups and should be treated fairly and valued. CAN can offer you a lot of advice and support in recruiting and managing volunteers. You will need separate policies to those for staff, or explicit clauses in such policies, to avoid the law or HMRC treating them as staff,

 Last updated: 26th April, 2022