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Page URL: https://practice.orangatamariki.govt.nz/practice-centre-style-and-content-guide/how-we-write/checklist-writing-policies-for-the-web/
Printed: 19/05/2024
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Last updated: 01/04/2019

Checklist — writing policies for the web

We have a set structure for policies on the Practice Centre website and we follow best practice for web writing. This helps practitioners find and understand the content.

General

Each policy needs a:

  • title — clear and descriptive
  • summary — maximum 255 characters.

Blocks

Policies are divided into blocks:

  • Start with a 'What is [subject]' block if you need a brief intro or a list of what’s covered.
  • Always have a 'Who this policy applies to' block.
  • You could then have a block about when the policy is relevant, like 'When [subject] is needed' or 'When this policy doesn’t apply'.
  • Put the other blocks in a logical order.

Each block has:

  • a heading — clear and descriptive so practitioners can easily scan the page
  • a summary
  • more content that can be displayed by clicking on a 'show more' button, if needed.

Writing for the web

When you’re writing the content for the blocks:

  • use 'we must' statements so practitioners are clear about what they need to do
  • follow the 'we must' statement with clear bullet points, as much as possible
  • if you use 'we should' statements, think carefully about whether that information would be better on a guidance page that can be linked to from the policy
  • write using plain language – for example:
    • use active sentences most of the time
    • keep sentences and paragraphs short
    • use short words, such as 'use' not 'utilise', and 'before' not 'prior to'
    • avoid jargon
  • use frequent, descriptive headings
  • break text up with bullet points
  • put links on a separate line.