I hope you find this step-by-step process useful if you need to develop a corporate policy.

I developed this process for an internal policy. If you are developing a public-facing policy you will need to add extra community engagement steps, and seek approval from elected members for its development and adoption.

Step 1 – Scoping and project planning

a) Review the source documents.

b) Identify the scope of the content to be included in the policy.

c) Prepare a timeline for completion of the work, including the formal approval process.

Step 2 – Analysis

a) Clarify the following:

  • desired outcome
  • audience
  • how the policy will be accessed and used within the organisation
  • consequences for the organisation of non-compliance.

b) Identify any potential improvements to, or gaps in, the existing policy content – and the subject matter experts to talk to about these aspects.


Step 3 – Research

a) Discuss the policy content with the subject matter experts identified in Step 2.

b) Review any related guidance documents.

c) Scan for useful examples from other councils.

Step 4 – Outline

Develop a draft structure, format and content outline for the policy.



Step 5 – First version of the policy

Draft the policy.

Step 6 – Complete the policy

Amend the draft policy to reflect feedback from the subject matter experts.


Step 7 – Formal approval process

This will depend on the formal approval process noted in Step 1. It might involve drafting and presenting a memo to the council’s executive team.

Note: We often talk about writing a policy, but when you look at the detailed steps involved in this process, it’s clear that thinking and talking are also essential ingredients for creating a successful policy.

Policy development: Please get in touch if you would like help with a policy.