Use and maintain your policies

by John Bandler

After you have created or newly updated a policy or procedure (and properly distributed it to the organization and trained on it if needed) it needs to be used and maintained.

I discuss this in more depth in my book on Policies and Procedures.

Use it, refer to it

Remember that polices in well-managed, compliant organizations are never just for show. They are not "shelf-ware".

If there was a reason to write them in the first place, then they need to be used and referred to.

During this use, if issues are identified then they can be addressed by management or during the next review.


Review your governance documents periodically.

Your review should include evaluating and looking for issues or changes in any of the Five Components for Policy work:

  • External rules
  • Mission
  • Practice
  • External guidance
  • Internal rules (e.g., other governance documents).

Governance document review should be done:

  • Continually (easy to say, harder to do)
  • Annually (a good rule to have)
  • As circumstances require (another good rule to have).

With this periodic review, your documents can evolve with the organization and be continually improved.

Without periodic review, they become out of date and obsolete yet still in force, meaning the organization is now out of compliance.

Update as needed

If the document needs updating to stay current with laws, best practices, mission and action, then do that update.

Have a process, involve the right stakeholders, and get to work.

Go thought the approval and finalizing and training/acknowledgement processes as discussed in my book.


A house needs to be lived in, our bodies and minds need exercise and use. Same goes for your governance documents. Use them, review them periodically (at least annually) and update as needed.

Improve your organization's governance documents with solid effort and following solid principles.

If your organization needs help with improving its internal documentation and policies and procedures, feel free to contact me.

Additional reading

This article is hosted at, copyright John Bandler, all rights reserved.

This article is also available on at NOT YET (though not kept as up to date).

Originally posted 2/11/2024, updated 2/11/2024.