A Comprehensive Guide to Reviewing Policies and Procedures

A Comprehensive Guide to Reviewing Policies and Procedures

Written by ComplianceBridge Policies & Procedures Team on February 22, 2024

Reviewing policies and procedures is a fundamental practice in running an organization. Nothing ever stays the same – teams grow, expectations change, and laws evolve. Only by implementing a routine evaluation of your organization’s policies and procedures can you remain compliant and effective.The alternative simply isn’t worth considering.

In this comprehensive guide, we walk businesses through the process of reviewing policies and procedures, from identifying areas of improvement to complying with current laws and regulations. 

Understanding the Importance of Regular Policy and Procedure Reviews

Regular policy and procedure reviews aren’t just optional; they’re a legal and organizational imperative. You risk severe financial, legal, and professional ramifications if you’re not routinely evaluating your internal standard operating procedures (SOPs), compliance documents, and other company policies.

Here’s why you should regularly review your internal policies and procedures:

  1. Ensuring Compliance: Regular reviews keep policies and procedures in line with current laws and regulations.
  2. Risk Management: Identifies and mitigates potential risks, protecting the organization from legal and financial issues.
  3. Operational Efficiency: Updates streamline processes, improving overall workflow and productivity.
  4. Adaptation to Change: Allows quick adaptation to new market conditions, technologies, and customer demands.
  5. Continuous Improvement: Encourages a culture of ongoing improvement and effective response to feedback.
  6. Quality Control: Helps maintain high standards of quality and service by regularly assessing and improving operational procedures.

Reviewing Policies and Procedure: Step-by-Step Walkthrough

We’ve established the importance of routine policy and procedure reviews. But how should companies go about performing a review?

We advise following a consistent procedure each time a review occurs. Below, we outline a 6-step comprehensive review process to identify gaps or problems with current policies and procedures and develop new solutions and revisions. 

Step 1. Pre-Review Preparation and Assessment

Establish the groundwork for a comprehensive review by gathering your existing policies. Read through this existing guidance and understand why it was drafted in this particular way. Refer to previous communications regarding the policies and procedures and see which laws and regulations they relate to. After all, during the upcoming changes, you don’t want to alter or amend something only to end up noncompliant with older legislation.

Step 2. Gap Analysis and Assessment

What is a gap analysis? It involves looking for discrepancies between current practices and desired standards. During this step, you identify areas for improvement. Even if a current practice works, consider how changes, big or small, could lead to substantially better outcomes. 

Step 3. Stakeholder Consultation and Feedback Collection

Next, it’s time to speak to the subject matter experts (SMEs). These could include employees, management, or external partners (e.g., vendors). Gather their insights on the practicalities of existing policies. Nobody can provide a better critique of what’s working and what isn’t than the people in direct contact with a policy or procedure.

Collect feedback through surveys, interviews, or focus groups. Emphasis that without the right insights, you cannot make the necessary changes to improve the company’s performance. Some of the best ideas don’t always come from the top. Listen to all the voices and analyze this feedback to understand stakeholder perspectives and concerns.

Step 4. Review Legal and Regulatory Compliance

Perhaps the most critical step from a company standpoint. Review all the relevant legislation regarding a particular policy or procedure. Consult with legal experts if necessary to interpret complex regulations. Based on the laws, regulations, and industry standards, list the parts that are relevant to your company.

In short, what do you need to do?

Then, compare your list to the policies and procedures. How well do they align? Are you fully compliant, or are there any areas where change is required? Part of reviewing policies and procedures is identifying these discrepancies early. If you were noncompliant, look to see how long you were noncompliant. It’s a major indicator of how successful your past reviews were. 

Step 5. Draft and Propose Revisions

Your research is complete. You’ve spoken to the experts and stakeholders; you’ve scoured recent legislation and poured over existing practices. It’s time for changes.

Based on your insights, start drafting revisions to the policies and procedures. As before, consult legal experts or the people on the ground for their expertise on your amendments. 

Ensure that these changes address the identified gaps and align with legal requirements.

Don’t write your revisions in dense legalese. Reviewing policies and procedures should involve simplifying the language, ensuring everyone can understand what needs to be done. 

Once the drafts are prepared, propose these revisions to the decision-making authorities or relevant committees for approval. Encourage an open dialogue to fine-tune these revisions before finalization.

Step 6. Implementation and Monitoring

Reviewing policies and procedures isn’t a one-time task. It’s an ongoing process. After your revisions are approved, work on their implementation and develop key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor their progress. 

Speak to stakeholders to see how the changes are taking effect. If something isn’t working, don’t stick with it for the sake of avoiding further reviews. Note it down for future policy and procedure evaluations. 

ComplianceBridge: Powering Your Policy and Procedure Reviews

Even with a rigorous review process, keeping track of changes, legal requirements, and stakeholder feedback is daunting. A few mistakes can lead to disastrous outcomes.

Thankfully, modern software solutions can centralize and streamline the review process, leading to more efficient and accurate results. 

Here’s how using software for your reviews can optimize operations, reduce risks, and enhance compliance:

  1. Centralized Documentation: Centralizing all policies, procedures, and related documents on a single platform simplifies access and updates. This consolidation ensures everyone works with the most current information, reducing confusion and errors.
  2. Real-Time Collaboration: Modern software facilitates real-time stakeholder collaboration, enhancing communication and speeding up decision-making. This feature is crucial for incorporating timely feedback and achieving consensus on policy revisions.
  3. Compliance Tracking: These tools are invaluable in monitoring legal and regulatory changes, ensuring that an organization’s policies remain up-to-date and compliant. 
  4. Risk Management: Software solutions aid in identifying and mitigating risks. By forecasting potential issues and suggesting preventive measures, they play a crucial role in maintaining operational stability and compliance.

Ready to learn more? ComplianceBridge automates workflows, streamlining policy creation, revision, and distribution. And with a complete centralized library of existing policies and procedures, you reduce any confusion as you create new document versions. Contact ComplianceBridge for a free demo today.

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