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Policy Formation

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Should policy be written by, or at the very least include input from officers, when creating a policy?
I assume policy formation can be delegated if it is infact minuted.
asked by (4.2k points)

4 Answers

+2 votes
Best answer
Most job descriptions for a Clerk include a paragraph which says
"The Clerk is expected to advise the Council on, and assist in the formation of, overall policies to be followed in respect of the council’s activities, and in particular, to produce all the information required for making effective decisions and to implement constructively all decisions."

As the clerk is the legal officer I would suggest that the council asks the clerk to prepare an outline policy document that can then be srutinised by the council before adoption.

At least that is our approach, although in practise the clerk will often suggest a certain policy is adopted to clarify the councils position on a particular topic.

I recall there was a question on policies a while ago with lots of suggestions on policies required by a council.

HTH
answered by (3.5k points)
selected by
+1 vote
All of the key policies have an NALC template written by experts in the field and there is safety in using them in their full and unedited form where it is possible to do so. Engagement with stakeholders is a really positive way to go about any process, but "written by" may be a step too far.
answered by (24.6k points)
0 votes
Incredibly helpful as always on this page. Thank you both
answered by (4.2k points)
+1 vote
The clerk is there to advise the council but the decision of what goes into the policy is decided by the council. They may well adopt or modify templates etc based on NALC or other advisory bodies but policies are there to enable councils to carry out their duties to the communities they represent legally and efficiently. All policies should be developed with this in mind and the policy wording has to be ratified by councillors. Beware of a one size fits all templates and trying to shoehorn your council into it. Make your own decisions based on what you need.
answered by (6.2k points)
I would agree that the best thing to do is use NALC templates and customise them to your needs.
eg, if the NALC template refers to a staffing committee, but you have a personnell committee, then just change that wording.
Some NALC Templates leave a fair amount of wriggle room enabling you to modify it to fit your organisation, the complaints procedure being a key one.  My other opinion is that SLCC templates can be looked at, but of the few I have seen (served up as best practice) none were suitable, and more a clerks doc that one for the public and councillors to follow.
I would then ask the  question of how binding is a policy on Cllrs i.e. is it in tablets of stone or is it there for guidance with flexibility. I seem to recall from my dim and distant past someone  once opined that the electorate has a " reasonable expectation" that once a policy is set it will be followed. Then again what is  reasonable ??
Policies are discussed and voted on by councillors(or should be) By their nature they must therefore democratically be binding on councillors to follow the requirements when carrying out the policy
"A policy is a set of rules or guidelines for your organisation and or employees to follow in order to achieve a specific goal( ie Compliance). An effective policy should outline what must be done or not done, directions, limits, principles and guidance for decision making"
Hope this helps
It does help but as always if it is not followed there is little that the electorate  can do, as I believe the external auditor does not get involved in policies.
Well any law or rule is impotent if it is ignored and not have an enforcement system. Unfortunately the answer is in the council's own hand. You have to push for policies etc to be followed and have a well thought out system to ensure that the rules are adhered to. It is for the council to be well led and to be well advised and ensure that the democratic decisions of the council are carried out on behalf of the community they were elected to represent. Too many do not want to "put their head above the parapet" which leads to all these complaints seen here. YOU are the council remember that one fact.

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