City of Charlottesville, VA Fire
|Chapter:||I - Manual of Operations|
|Subject:||Preparation of Policies|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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