Policies are necessary and are written for a wide audience. Because of this they must be simple and easy to read. Use everyday words as your default.
Use as few words as possible to make your point.
Phrase the policy using short sentences with each sentence expressing one idea.
Be consistent with your word choice and use the one word for the same concept throughout.
If the policy mandates action, use "must” or “will", not “should”. If an action is optional or permissive, use ‘may’. For recommended actions, use 'recommended'.
Use gender neutral language, for example, use ‘they’ or ‘their’ instead of ‘he/she’ or ‘his/her’.
Avoid jargon and technical language that requires specialist knowledge, unless specialist terms are relevant to the context.
Future proof your policy by avoiding information that is quickly out dated and that therefore requires regular amendment to the policy. For example, use position titles rather than names wherever possible.
Avoid acronyms and abbreviations except where necessary – use the full term on the first occasion with the acronym immediately after in brackets. For example, Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC).
Use active voice rather than a passive voice, and write in the present tense.
Communication - the audience comes first
Effective policy is known. In defining the people who your policy will impact, who will implement your policy, and will use your policy, you are defining the audience you need to communicate with. Effective communication is tailored to an intended audience. The aspects of communication that you will tailor include:
the tone of your message
the channels you use to communicate
the timing of your messages.
Good communication is especially important for making students aware about policies that are important for the student experience
Establish and maintain sound relationships with people in key areas. Be responsive to their ideas and concerns. Talk these through and take time to listen.