How to manage policies and procedures on your intranet

John Newton's picture
John Newton

There's no one-size-fits-all solution to managing key documents like policies and procedures on your charity's intranet. However, there are broadly three approaches you will commonly find adopted. It's likely your organisation follows one of these.

File system storage and browsing.

Some organisations, especially smaller charities, have historical systems where Windows network drives provide storage and access to key policies and procedures. This is certainly less than an ideal but may be the only option if your organisation does not have the resource to control documents in a more useful and sophisticated manner. That said, there's no reason why you shouldn't make this solution work for provided you follow a few rules of thumb:

  • ensure everyone with write access has a clear workflow and protocol for updating documents
  • use versioning numbers in your document titles
  • ideally, keep a separate dtabase (or just a spreadsheet) that documents ownership, versioning and dates to act as an audit
  • provide a clear single point of access to your documents - with Sereno Intranet you can easily enable a launcher and file browser so people do not need to search for the drive

Document management within your intranet software 

Most intranets should provide a way of providing a Library area where documents can be indexed, searched and controlled by document owners. Again, there are some useful rules of thumb to follow:

  • provide appropriate meta data - authorship, last updated date, the issue the policy or procedure is covering, contact point for questions
  • use your intranet's content curation tools to provide quick links to popular documents
  • use your intranet's advanced search to weight documents so these can appear prominently in search results. With our intranets, we look at how people search for documents then tweak the intranet search engine to return ever mroe accurate results for staff

Separate dedicated document management software

You may want to use a wholly dedicated system. These can add complexity to your organisation and be an expensive options although there are great open source systems like Alfresco which are well worth considering. These systems can be hard to integrate within your intranet. Using your HR system which may contain its own document system is another possibility. This may work for some organsiations but personally I've never heard a good report about this as a solution. If you know otherwise, however, please let me know.