Although this post is written specifically for Childcare organisations, it is equally applicable to any other Not For Profit organisation.
Many organisations when they start make use of templates for some of their policies - of course why Re Invent the wheel. Some of these are even provided by legal companies, and this support is sometimes provided alongside your Insurance. Now templates are a great time saver BUT they need to be used carefully, they provide the structure for your policy, help keep you legal, but they shouldn’t provide all of the content.
Take this example; we have recently been supporting somebody not in West Yorkshire with some employment issues. The organisation had received a template disciplinary policy from a legal support organisation. Unfortunately the limit of their tailoring and making it fit for purpose was to add the organisation’s name to it. At no point did they stop to consider how they would implement this if something happened. In this instance the first thing that caused an issue was the policy laid out how an appeal was to be conducted: this would of course be heard by somebody not connected with the initial investigations or meetings. It sensibly laid down that this would be another manager. The problem with this is the organisation didn’t have another manager; it only had one site and a very small staff team. All of the management staff were involved in the initial phase of the incident. This should have been obvious from the start.
Other issues then started to cascade from the initial problem. The main thing is that you have a policy and you need to stick to what it says, you can’t just change your mind because it doesn’t fit the situation. So if the policy lays out a minimum notice period, that’s what you have to give. If the policy states how you will communicate with people, that’s what you need to do. If any of this doesn’t work you need to update the policy.
Look at your policy and think through how would all of this work in practice; these are the adjustments you need to make to your template. To misquote Douglas Bader from WW2 “Templates are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools.”