How to write a governance document

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

A well written governance document will answer the following three questions:

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

Governance document writing tips

Governance documents 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  • avoid using information that can be quickly outdated.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 (Academic) before employing 'DVC(A)'
  • use hyperlinks for additional information, but do not construct a sentence around the link such as 'click here for more information'.

The best written governance documents are written with the reader in mind.