Why have policies and procedures?

Each service needs to have policies and procedures to help them guide the actions of all individuals involved in the service. They ensure and endorse the well-being of all families, children, staff, volunteers and everyone who is connected to the service. When policies and procedures are well thought out and, most importantly, implemented they provide common understanding and agreement on how things should be done at the service. Procedures provide clear instructions and guidelines on what should/must be done in a particular set of circumstances or with regard to a particular issue.

Policies and procedures help new staff and families to familiarise themselves with the service’s practices and gives them information about what to expect from the service. Policies should be ‘living’ documents that must be regularly reviewed to ensure that they meet all the needs of those working in the service, and take into account the possible changes that have happened in the service and within the wider community.

To summarise good, well thought out and implemented policies and procedures ensure:

  • Good practice
  • Helps to establish a professional and effective organisation
  • They provide consistency amongst staff, parents and children
  • They can prevent any ambiguity about how particular situations/issues should be handled in the service
  • They promote harmony among staff
  • More efficient and effective delivery of service


Willoughby, M. “ A Practical Guide to Developing Childcare Policies”. Barnardos, 2008.

Willoughby, M. “ A Practical Guide to Developing Childcare Policies”. Barnardos, 2010.

Area Development Management Ltd. “A Guide to Developing policies & Procedures in a childcare setting” 2003.