Policies should give decision-makers (such as Chief and Council) and staff clear and consistent direction. The first step is confirming the need for a written policy.
Policies can cover a great variety of topics and situations. For a housing policy, ask yourself:
- Are there questions that are being asked over and over again by community members (e.g. what do I need to do to get a new house?);
- Are staff being asked to make decisions without having anything to refer to (e.g. deciding who should become the occupant of a new home?);
- Are all community members being treated fairly and consistently (e.g. are the expectations of all home occupants the same or is one family being held to a higher standard than another?).
Confirming the need for a written policy begins by deciding who needs what direction. It also involves determining, if the unwritten rules or policy should be written, a new policy is needed, or if an existing policy, with or without modification, can fill the need.
Policies must be realistic and meet operational realities. Consider the following circumstances when developing policies:
- commitment of Chief and Council to the policy;
- willingness of affected or involved parties to follow the policy;
- financial capacity to implement the policy;
- sufficient human resources to implement the policy; and
- commitment of staff to the policy.
Once it is determined that a new or revised written policy is needed, a decision needs to be made as to what the goal of the policy is and what it should say to whom. This can help focus the policy more clearly on specific objectives.
Every policy must conform to the overall philosophies of the First Nation, the housing organization and relevant stakeholders. Housing policies must be consistent with other individual program policies, and conform to relevant laws, standards and stakeholder requirements of the First Nation.