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City of Charlottesville, VA Fire Department
STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES


Organization

Chapter: I - Manual of Operations
Subject: Preparation of Policies
Code: 1-I-3
Revised: 6-6-96

 

3.0l   PURPOSE

       A.  To establish a systematic procedure for the preparation or
           change and distribution of Fire Department policies.
       B.  To  insure the proper and regular systematic review of the
           Operations Manual.
       C.  To  insure  the  proper, timely, systematic and controlled
           revision and update of the Operations Manual.

3.02   POLICY

       A.  A  "policy"  shall  be  defined  as:  a declared intent or
           objective that shall be used as a basis for  decision  and
           action.
       B.  A  "procedure"  shall  be  defined  as:   a  prescribed or
           acceptable routine or method of performing or implementing
           a desired course of action.
       C.  The  establishment  of  policies  shall  be  a  management
           prerogative, except that participation may be sought  from
           employees  in the development of those policies concerning
           conditions of employment and/or procedures and methods  of
           an operational nature.
       D.  It  shall  be  the  policy  of this department, insofar as
           possible, to establish, in writing, the guiding principles
           and  acceptable  methods  of  action  to  be  used  by our
           personnel.
       E.  These   policies   are   intended   to   provide  internal
           consistency.

3.03   RESPONSIBILITY

       A.  It  is  the responsibility of the Fire Chief to review and
           edit new and proposed policies.
       B.  It  is  the responsibility of the members who are assigned
           to review or revise  policies  to  follow  the  prescribed
           review  process  and  to  ensure  continuity with existing
           policies.
       C.  The  Executive  Secretary  shall  be  responsible  for the
           distribution of all  policies  and  procedures  and  shall
           maintain  the  master  copy of the Operations Manual.  The
           Executive Secretary shall also maintain the Dead File  and
           the  Policy  Review  Schedule  and  shall  coordinate  the
           scheduled review of all policies and procedures.
       D.  The  Fire  Department  Officers  shall  be responsible for
           communicating established policy to all employees in their
           command.   Fire  Battalion Chiefs shall be responsible for
           the maintenance and updating of the copy or copies of  the
           Operations Manual which are assigned to their command.

3.04   FORM

       A.  The  appropriate  standard  format and letterhead shall be
           used when composing the final draft of any given policy or
           procedure.   All  numbering and coding shall be consistent
           with existing policies.
       B.  The  standard  typing  format will be utilized when typing
           the final draft of any policy or procedure.
       C.  Although  not  at all inclusive, the breakdown of a policy
           may include:
           l.  PURPOSE:   The  general  goal  of the policy stated in
               such a manner so as to  indicate  why  the  policy  is
               necessary.
           2.  POLICY:  Statements as to what the policy shall be.
           3.  SCOPE:  The parameters of the subject.
           4.  ORGANIZATION  AND  STAFFING:   The  policy  may either
               change existing or create new organizational structure
               to  accomplish  its  purpose.   This  may  include the
               formation of a special committee  to  carry  out  some
               function.   Staffing may be treated separately, with a
               delineation of the number of classifications required,
               and a description of duties and responsibilities.
           5.  AUTHORITY   AND   RESPONSIBILITY:    For  purposes  of
               implementing the policy  and  ensuring  its  effective
               operation,   authority   and  responsibility  must  be
               clearly defined.  Authority may be treated  separately
               from  responsibility  if  the  nature  of  the  policy
               requires it.
           6.  PROCEDURE:   Generally, the procedures shall be stated
               at the end of the policy.
           7.  OTHER  HEADINGS:   Other  functional sub-headings that
               are appropriate to the subject matter may be  used  as
               necessary.

3.05   DISTRIBUTION

       The  Executive  Secretary shall coordinate the distribution of
       policies  and  memorandums  within  the  parameters   of   the
       following process:
       A.  After  approval by the Fire Chief, the Executive Secretary
           shall insure that the final copy of the  policy  has  been
           typed using the appropriate format and letterhead.
       B.  The  appropriate  number  of  copies  shall be made, and a
           cover  memorandum,  providing  any  necessary  information
           and/or instructions, shall be attached to each one.
       C.  The  master  copy  of  the  Manual shall be updated by the
           Executive Secretary and  those  copies  of  polices  being
           replaced shall be placed in the Dead File.
       D.  The  Policy  Review and Revision Schedule shall be updated
           accordingly by the Executive Secretary.
       E.  The copies of the policy with the attached memorandum will
           be sent to the appropriate members having  charge  of  the
           various operations.
       F.  Personnel  receiving  the  copy of the new policy with its
           attached   memorandum   will   follow   any   instructions
           pertaining  to  pen and ink corrections of the appropriate
           Table of Contents and/or  Index,  which  may  be  on  that
           memorandum.   They will insure that the copy of the Manual
           in their charge is promptly updated  and  that  the  cover
           memorandum  is  placed into the Memoranda Book.  They will
           also inform all personnel in  their  command  of  the  new
           policy.   The  copies  of the old policies which are being
           replaced shall be removed or discarded.

3.06   PREPARATION PROCEDURE

       In  order  to insure uniformity and continuity of departmental
       policy, those members involved in the preparation or change of
       policy   must   correctly   follow   the  prescribed  standard
       procedures listed in this text.  The following procedure shall
       be followed when developing a new policy or when processing an
       unscheduled change in policy.
       A.  When  a  need  for  change  is realized or a new policy is
           desired, the proposed policy should be formulated  into  a
           rough draft.
       B.  Additional  staff  input  should  be incorporated into the
           formulation process through staff  meetings  and/or  other
           means.
       C.  The  refined  proposal  should be drafted and sent through
           proper channels to the Fire Chief for review and approval.
       D.  The Fire Chief will review the proposal and decide whether
           the new policy is necessary or not  and  may  approve  the
           policy  as  is or re-contact the originating member(s) for
           discussion, but the final decision remains with  the  Fire
           Chief.
       E.  If revision is necessary prior to approval, the Fire Chief
           will contact the originating member(s) and coordinate  the
           revision process.
       F.  After  approval  of a policy, the Executive Secretary will
           prepare the  policy  for  distribution  and  initiate  the
           distribution process.
       G.  The  Fire  Chief  is  the final review level in the policy
           preparation process.  As such,  it  is  the  Fire  Chief's
           prerogative  to  establish  policy  directly or seek staff
           input as seen fit.

3.07   REVIEW AND REVISIONS

       A  regular  periodic  review has been built into the system in
       order to review and revise the existing policies.
       Policy reviews  are  scheduled  on  a  quarterly  basis.   The
       different  books  of the Manual are reviewed, one each quarter
       of the year.  The process begins with Book  l  being  reviewed
       during  the  first  quarter  of  the  year  and  ends with the
       Memoranda Book and the Index being updated by the end  of  the
       fourth quarter of the year.
       A  zero  based approach will be utilized as the basis for this
       review process.  This approach involves asking basic questions
       in order to determine the validity of an existing policy.  The
       idea is to decide whether or  not  a  given  policy  is  still
       necessary,  needs  revision, or can remain in effect as it is.
       The following procedure shall be the process  for  review  and
       revision of existing policy.
       A.  The  Executive  Secretary will initiate the review process
           by checking the Policy  Review  Schedule  each  month  and
           sending  out a review notice to those members charged with
           review of the given policies  on  the  schedule  for  that
           month.
       B.  When  the  involved  member  receives  the above-mentioned
           notice for a given policy, the zero-based approach will be
           utilized during the review process.
       C.  If  the  policy being reviewed is considered invalid, then
           this  should  be  noted  on  the  review  notice   and   a
           recommendation  for  approval  from  the  system should be
           forwarded to the Fire Chief.
       D.  The  Fire Chief will review the recommendations and either
           approve the removal or re-contact the reviewing member for
           questions and discussion.
       E.  If  removal is not approved, the Fire Chief may re-contact
           the  reviewing  members  for   discussion.    After   said
           discussion,  the  Fire  Chief  may  maintain  the original
           decision  or  may  reconsider.   If  the  decision  is  to
           reconsider, the Fire Chief may decide to remove the policy
           from the system or to have it revised.
       F.  If,  at  the  beginning  of  the review process the member
           charged with  that  review  decides  that  the  policy  in
           question  is  still  valid,  then  the  next  step  is  to
           determine whether or not a revision of the  policy  is  in
           order.
       G.  If  no revision is needed, then this would be indicated on
           the review notice and the notice would be returned to  the
           Executive  Secretary.   The Executive Secretary would then
           simply reschedule the policy for the next review period.
       H.  If  revision  was in order, then a proposed revision would
           be formulated and sent to the Fire Chief  for  review  and
           approval.
       I.  The  Fire  Chief  would  review  the proposed revision and
           either approve it or re-contact the member for  discussion
           and  possible  further  revision.   The  Fire  Chief would
           coordinate the revision process.
       J.  Any  approved  revisions  will  be  sent  to the Executive
           Secretary for preparation and distribution.

Go BACK to Book One Contents page.

For Help using this system, send e-mail to:

Charles Werner (werner@ci.charlottesville.va.us)