Policy and Procedure Code

CIPS Policy and Procedure Code

  1. The CIPS Policy and Procedure Code was introduced in 2005 to routinize and standardize recurring procedures. The intent then, as now, is to ensure the stability, efficiency, and predictability of organizational functioning.
  2. A Policy and Procedure Code is very different from the Bylaws. As stated above, bylaws establish the basic structure of the organization and the methods by which decisions are made. Bylaws do not include the decisions that are made. These are recorded in the minutes of board meetings or in other special documents. Many organizations rely solely on minutes to record decisions and policies. Unfortunately, minutes are often difficult to locate and specific rules, policies, or procedures adopted by one board may not remain in the collective memory of the organization or be readily accessible in the minutes.
  3. A Policy and Procedure Code is an instrument designed to remedy this problem. It contains all the decisions that are made by the board with regard to recurring processes, such as elections, dues, the conduct of board meetings, the appointment of individuals to positions, and so on. If an action of the board is one of a class of recurring actions, a decision that is made with regard to the management of that action may be a model for the management of other such actions. When the board believes that any of its decisions is a model for future such decisions with regard to a particular kind of action (as exemplified by dues collections, appointments, admission of members, and so on), that decision can be recorded as a procedure to be repeated in similar contexts, and codified in the Policy and Procedure Code.
  4. The Policy and Procedure Code differs from the Bylaws, then, because it contains a record of decisions with regard to how the organization will function in specific contexts. However, it also differs in some other ways. It is not only more detailed and specific than any set of bylaws should ever be, it is also “the property” of the Board. The Board creates procedures, the board amends procedures, the board dissolves procedures. Procedures are readily subject to change by a two thirds majority vote of the board, or, if the board is notified of the plan to review any procedures, by a simple majority vote.

    It should be noted that this procedure for changing procedures is set forth in Robert’s Rules under the heading of “rescission or amendment of motions previously adopted.” It conforms to the basic principle that changing a motion previously adopted should be more difficult than enacting the motion in the first place. However, it is still much easier to amend a procedure than to amend the bylaws. Bylaws are intentionally difficult to amend because they define the basic social contract through which the organization is established. The Policy and Procedure Code is no more than a compendium of the Board’s decisions with regard to the operations of the organization.