Clubs need policies for a number of reasons. Policies formalise and document the club's rules and procedures and they can be used as a reference in case a dispute or a controversial incident occurs.
Policies also provide a how-to guide for the committee and members and is particularly useful when new committee members or volunteers come on board. Documented policies and procedures are critical components to a football club's risk management plan.
Any policy that improves the quality of your club is important. Your club should consider implementing the following polices if you haven't already:
This simple process will help you develop and implement a policy in your club.
1. Assess the current situation
Does the policy already exist? If so, is it written? Is the policy enforced? Does it need updating?
Conduct a survey or discussion of patrons and members to assess their support for the policy. The consultation with members will also help to identify possible resistance to change.
2. Get the support of your management committee
Place the policy on the agenda for the next committee meeting. Get a resolution passed, or propose a working party. Highlight reasons why your club needs the policy. Prior to the committee meeting, provide as much information as possible to committee members. Such information may include facts directly related to the policy. For example, if you are looking at developing a smokefree policy, provide facts about passive smoking, outline the legal issues, or examples of other smokefree organisations.
3. Drafting your policy
The following points are usually found in a good policy:
4. Developing a non-compliance strategy
A non-compliance strategy tells a person what to do if someone ignores or breaches the policy. This strategy should form part of your club's overall policy. The strategy should follow a simple step-by-step process and be easy to follow.
5. Promote the new policy
The timing and manner of introducing your policy is important. The beginning of a new season is usually a good time to introduce the new policy. Promote the policy's start date to all members, patrons, supporters and spectators. Giving advanced notice will give people time to get used to the change and will help to avoid possible resistance.
Consider using the following mediums to help promote your club's new policy:
6. Educate staff/volunteers
Staff and volunteers must also know about the policy. Staff/volunteer manuals, handbooks and orientation programs should acknowledge your club's policies. It is also a good idea to hold a training session to educate existing staff and volunteers about the new policy. Remember to:
7. Review your policy
Set dates to review your policy. This is very important when the policy is first introduced. It is a good idea to review the policy six months after it has been introduced. Seek feedback on how the policy can be changed to make it more effective. Ask the following questions:
Over time things will also change within your club. Be sure that the policy is kept up to date.
For more information on policies and procedures download the AFL Club Management Program - Risk Management.