Rules, Policies and Procedures
Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. And Today’s Tip deals with rules, policies and procedures.
Sometimes a process made sense last year, but because circumstances have changed, it doesn’t make sense this year.
You know, here at Lexipol our specialty is developing legally sound defensible policies for Law Enforcement, Fire Service and Custody Services public safety agencies. Today’s Tip applies to equally everyone in the public safety field.
Sometimes public safety personnel bend rules, violate policies or procedures through what we often call “work-arounds.” Now, this isn’t because of laziness but because they are just trying to get their work done and get it done right. Maybe it is faster, easier or more efficient than following “the book.”
But work-arounds can be a problem later when something goes wrong. People will start asking “why weren’t the rules being followed?” If work-arounds are pervasive, courts can view work-arounds as an agency’s actual policy which can be disastrous.
Often the response to why a rule isn’t being followed is simple-“We should be following the rule.” It is a good rule. It is a good process, but we take short-cuts we shouldn’t. We know all about these.
But I want to focus on another possible answer – “because the rule or procedure was so bad that no one follows it.” Maybe a supervisor has even told you not to follow a certain procedure because “no one does it that way anymore.”
Sometimes a process made sense last year, but because circumstances have changed, it doesn’t make sense this year. Some procedures can still be in writing and no one even knows why it was there in the first place. Here is my advice, don’t just let a bad rule or process sit there not being followed. Fix it. If there is a bad rule, policy or procedure out there, dump it. If it is a good rule, policy or procedure then follow it.
And that is Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off.