Demystifying policies and procedures

HR Team

July 25 2021
As we all know, the need for HR policies and procedures is to ensure that both managers and employees have clear guidance on a variety of employment issues, ranging from sickness absence through to disciplinary and capability. These should clearly outline the rights and responsibilities for both employees and managers to ensure that they understand the actions required of them.

It goes without saying, such HR policies and procedures should be as straightforward and understandable as possible to reduce the chance of misinterpretation, which could ultimately lead to incorrect action being taken. They are also key in supporting consistency and fairness across an organisation, whilst improving employee motivation and supporting you in recruitment and retention.

Policies and procedures don’t need to be overly detailed and don’t need to cover every possible eventuality – it’s actually beneficial to allow for flexibility so that the context of each case can be considered when managing a procedure. You should also ensure that your policies and procedures are complementary to one another, as well as practical and effective for your organisation. It’s also so important that they’re straightforward and user-friendly for managers and employees to clearly understand them as this will, in turn, aid quicker decision making and support the behaviours needed for organisational performance.

As an organisation, having clear and concise policies and procedures will also help you to minimise the risk of Employment Tribunal claims from employees. If your organisation were to receive an Employment Tribunal claim, one of the key elements you would be required to evidence is that you had followed the relevant policy or procedure in effect at the time. Of course, this is much easier to evidence where your policies and procedures are user-friendly, straightforward and allow flexibility for the organisation.

If you are a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT), you may have schools that have transferred into your trust with a variety of different HR policies and procedures in place. As you might expect, this can lead to inconsistencies in procedures and decision making across the trust. Inconsistencies can pose a risk to you as an organisation as you are a single employer, so you should be looking to ensure consistency and fairness across all your schools. One way to do this is to develop and implement your own suite of HR policies and procedures which apply to all employees within your MAT.

To support MATs with this, EPM has developed a framework of template policy documents. The approach is slightly different to traditional HR policies as each policy is written to sit under one overarching ‘Staffing Policy Statement’. The aim of this approach is to improve the consistency of the application of staffing procedures and to avoid the repetition of key information traditionally found in every staffing policy and procedure. As a result, the individual staffing policies and procedures are more concise, user-friendly, and easier for ongoing maintenance.


Effective HR policies and procedures should:

  •   Be straightforward, understandable, and user-friendly
  •   Not be overly detailed
  •   Have flexibility
  •   Complement one another
  •   Be effective as evidence
  •   Encourage consistency and fairness across your entire setting.


If you’re looking for advice about our services to schools and trusts or would like to learn more about our policies, letters and training, please talk to us.

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