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The risks of using downloadable ready-made policies

For businesses, downloadable ready-made policy templates are a fast, cheap, and sometimes free alternative to hiring professionals to create their own policies from scratch. However, although templates can initially save time and money, they can eventually cause financial and reputational damage to in the future.

Policies are implemented by businesses to outline and govern practices carried out by their organisation. Having clear policies in place provides a road map for day-to-day operations, ensuring your business complies with laws and regulations, they also give guidance for decision-making and enable you to streamline internal processes.

Prebuilt policy templates can be found everywhere online as free or low-cost downloadable documents. They may seem like a quick and convenient way to meet regulatory requirements, however, when not reviewed and edited properly, these templates can bring a number of significant risks to your organisation. In this article we dive deeper into the risks that pre-written policy templates bring to your business.

A costly mistake: A free template may seem like the perfect way to save some money and cut out any up-front costs. However, the legal fees required to cover any legal actions that are presented further down the line due to poorly written, ambiguous policies that are not specific to your business and have not been reviewed by an expert could end up being a huge financial burden. For example, firing an employee and not following clear Discipline and Termination policies written by a professional for your business could result in unfair dismissal and costly court cases. Likewise, mistakes in your Health and Safety policy could be hugely damaging if a staff member injures themself at work.

All businesses are different: Although the templates you download may seem relevant to your business, every organisation is unique in its own way and it’s very unlikely that a free template online will cover every eventuality for your business. Does your GDPR compliance policy consider the specific systems you use to process data? Does the Health and Safety policy mention each piece of machinery your staff has access to? Does your Termination policy clearly outline your discipline process? If they’re too generic, they run the risk of being open to ambiguity and mis-interpretation. This could result in policies not being followed correctly, presenting inefficiencies across your organisation.

When was your template created: Even if you’re satisfied that the template you have downloaded covers the minimum your business needs to comply, by using someone else's document you have no idea when it was created or last updated. The policies may no longer reflect the current legislative requirements, and what happens when legislation changes or new regulations need to be adhered to? Who will be responsible for making these updates and ensuring ongoing compliance? Having the support of an expert early on, means you can rest assured that your policies are up to date from the beginning, and you remain compliant.

Online policy templates often help small and medium sized businesses in preparing and implementing their security policies for little to no cost. However, the improper use of such templates may result in legal issues and significant financial and reputational losses. Having the support of industry experts with over 12 years of experience in policy and procedure writing means you can feel confident knowing that you’re fully compliant with laws and regulations and have the foundation in place to run consistent and efficient business operations. Often considerably cheaper than people think, seeking the support of a reliable, experienced policy writing organisation is a small price to pay for running a complaint and successful business.

About Brumpton and Brumpton

Located in Basingstoke, Hampshire, Brumpton and Brumpton provide Policy and Procedure writing services to businesses of all sizes. Our diverse team of experts all bring a different skill set to the table, meaning we're able to provide a range of expert capabilities to our customers.

With over 12 years of experience in writing policies and supporting documentation, we will work with you to understand your needs and put the right policies and processes in place to give your company additional stability and make it clear how you want to operate.


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