Following policy and procedures
A key aspect of following procedures involves working within the scope of your role and responsibilities. It is vital therefore that you know what your job role entails and know what to do when you are unsure of your role and/or your work instructions.
Working within job role and responsibilities
Confusion regarding job roles can be a major source of workplace stress and conflict. It can also result in poor service delivery. It is important that you know your job responsibilities, work within your position specifications and clarify work instructions where necessary.
- Seek regular support and supervision from your supervisor through supervisory sessions and bring any situations to the attention of your team leader.
- Seek advice from work colleagues through consultation and staff meetings.
- Look to professional guidelines for scope of practice in other settings.
- Seek to have your position description clarified and/or have it include reference to professional standards or legislative provisions.
- Seek to have your competencies assessed and/or recognised.
- Ensure that all major work activities are accurately documented/recorded.
- Consult with representatives from groups such as unions and professional bodies regarding the appropriateness of job role.
Information about your role and responsibilities
Your job role and key responsibilities are usually contained within a Job Description (sometimes called a Position Description, Work Profile or Duty Statement). The job or position description will outline the name of the position, the award classification, the department or area or work, the industrial award or agreement, the duties to be completed and the selection criteria, as well as many other things.
Your job description will list the duties which must be completed as part of your job. For instance, the duties could be:
- facilitating clients' involvement in community activities
- transporting clients to appointments
- maintaining a safe environment for clients
- facilitating groups of clients
- observing and reporting for clients' plans
- participating in the development of clients' plans.
The selection criteria for a job define the essential skills, knowledge, experience and qualifications that an applicant for the role must have. By default you should posses these in order to be working within your current role.
For the duties listed above the selection criteria could be:
- demonstrated interest in caring for… (for example, young people or children or people with mental illness)
- sound interpersonal and communication skills
- current drivers licence.
Clarifying work instructions
From time to time the instructions that you need to follow (either verbal or written) may not be clear and you may have some concerns about what action to take. You need to raise these concerns as soon as possible, especially if they could impact on the standard of service provided or complicate a potentially dangerous situation.
Clarifying verbal instructions
If you need to clarify a verbal instruction, you could ask the person issuing the instruction to repeat it to you in another way or ask some questions of that person to gain clarity. If you choose to seek clarification from another staff member, it is very important that the person you ask is in a position to give you accurate information.
If you are still unclear, you could ask to have the instruction in writing or you could refer to workplace policies and procedures. These may provide a more detailed explanation of guidelines and protocol.
Clarifying ambiguous policies and procedures
Sometimes, it is the written policy or procedure itself that isn’t clear and it is your responsibility to report your concern about lack of clarity in the instruction and be committed to giving ongoing feedback to your supervisor about these and other issues so that policies and procedures can be reviewed and changed as necessary.
Seeking specialist advice
It may be that, in some circumstances, a specialist may need to be called in to provide more detailed or specific information to ensure that correct procedures/instructions are being followed.
Depending on the circumstances, specialists could include:
- occupational health and safety officers
- education officers
- legal representatives
- Department of Child Safety officers
Remember, if you have been given an instruction, you will be held responsible for carrying it out. So you need to be honest with yourself and others and seek clarity, or report any other difficulties you may be having in carrying out the instruction, if you require it.
Follow policies and procedures