How to write a policy

University policies and procedures need to be clear, concise and effectively communicate the subject matter to the target audience.

A well written policy will answer the following three questions:

  1. Why have the policy?
  2. What is the policy?
  3. How is the policy to be implemented?

Policy Writing Tips

Policies and procedures are used by both staff and/or students of the University so it is important that they are written in clear, concise and simple language.

  • Write documents in plain English;
  • - use simple words that readers will understand
    - use short sentences and break up statements into paragraphs
    - avoid using jargon or language that requires specialist knowledge
  • be consistent with terminology. Consistent use of language avoid confusion for the reader;
  • use present tense and active voice where possible;
  • avoid using information that can be quickly outdated. For example, use positions and titles as opposed to names;
  • avoid gender-specific pronouns. For example, use 'they' instead of 'he' or 'she';
  • when using acronyms, provide the full term/title before using the acronym. For example, use 'Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Quality) before employing 'DVC(L&Q)';
  • use hyperlinks for additional information, but do not construct a sentence around the link such as 'click here for more information'.

The best written policies are written with the reader in mind.