Council on Accreditation • Copyright 2008
A person or persons with the legal authority and responsibility to set policy and oversee the operations of an organization. Generally, the governing body is a group, such as a board of directors or board of trustees. While the exact responsibilities of the governing body depend on the nature and character of the organization, the governing body has minimum fiduciary responsibilities to the organization set by statute, regulation, and case law, and typically assume responsibilities for long term planning, risk management, and evaluation and effectiveness of management.
A written statement of principles, values, or intent that provides a basis for consistent decision making and guides the actions of staff, management, and board of trustees. A policy is intentionally broad in its language and application. The following is an example of an anti-discrimination policy:
"[Organization Name] shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers, selection of vendors, and provision of services."
In contrast, a procedure is a detailed, step-by-step description of a process. It tells the reader how to do something. Generally, policies are implemented through procedures. For example, the above anti-discrimination policy would require a detailed grievance procedure in order to operationalize it within an organization.
The governing body has the fiduciary responsibility for setting organizational policy. Therefore, policies must be approved and periodically reviewed by the organization's governing body. However, the governing body typically delegates (via policy) the responsibility for policy development to management. In owner-operated for-profit companies, the owner can act as the company's governing body, depending on the company's corporate structure.
In a public agency the responsibility for setting and reviewing policies may belong to the agency's management team, elected officials, another governmental agency, or as is often the case, a combination of the above.
Systematically developed, objective, and quantifiable statements used to assess the appropriateness of specific decisions, services, and outcomes.
Instruments and procedures used to accomplish a particular goal, activity, or purpose.
Established actions or ways of proceeding in the regular performance of organizational duties. Policies and procedures often guide practice.
GOV 7 - Oversight of Investments*
related FIN 5.04
NA The organization does not invest funds.