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:
- Why have the policy?
- What is the policy?
- 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- avoid using information that can be quickly outdated.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 (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 policies are written with the reader in mind.