One reason many policy instruments are overly long is that they contain all kinds of statements that are not policy decisions. Take the following example:
Employees must handle all hazardous substances in accordance with existing laws and regulations.
That sentence does not belong inside a policy instrument. A repetition or restatement of an existing law it is not a policy decision. The law makes it true, not the corporate decision.
If the corporation wishes to bring this law to the attention of their employees, the place to do that is the accompanying guidance documents. In the guidance documents, the sentence has real value.
Other examples of statements that do not belong inside a policy instrument are the following:
All documents are subject to applicable freedom of information and privacy legislation.
Illegal drugs are not permitted on company premises.
This policy does not override applicable laws in your jurisdiction.
In each case the statement is true whether or not the company makes it a policy. All these statements do is make the policy longer, not better.
More Policy Writing Tips
For more information
You’ll find information on writing titles for policy instruments and many related topics in Respectful Policies and Directives, available at any bookstore.
Perfect Policies.org offers workshops that help you organize your policy instruments. Contact us for details.