Model Policies
> Model Policies Checklist

Model Policies Checklist

Drafting effective public health policies is a critical component of achieving policy, systems, and environmental change. The purpose of the following checklist is to provide useful resources to assist in drafting, adopting, and implementing model policies.

  • Section 1 contains steps to inform policy planning and drafting.
  • Section 2 contains the elements that should be included in a policy.
  • Section 3 contains questions for review of the policy to ensure that it is effective and comprehensive.

Not every item is relevant to every policy, but all should be considered. The order that each item is carried out may vary and some items may need to be repeated.

Section 1

Policy Planning and Drafting Process Checklist

This checklist contains the steps that should be used to plan for a policy, develop the policy and ensure effective implementation. These steps are in chronological order but may vary slightly by organization or policy.

  1. Identify and clarify the issue that the policy addresses.
  2. Determine if the organization has authority to enact the policy.
  3. Identify person(s) responsible for drafting the policy.
  4. Identify and involve key stakeholders.
  5. Identify sample or model policies.
  6. Draft policy (use Policy Elements Checklist).
  7. Review policy (use Policy Review Checklist).
  8. Check for conflicts with existing policies or laws. Consider any enforcement  that should be included in the policy.
  9. Review draft policy with stakeholders.
  10. Review draft policy with Board, executive team, and/or leadership team (optional).
  11. Review and finalize policy.
  12. Complete the approval process for the policy. (This may include getting on the board agenda for approval.)
  13. Post policy for public comment if required.
  14. Publicize and implement the policy. Identify how long it should be publicized.
  15. Review and update the policy annually, unless otherwise specified.

Section 2

Policy Elements Checklist

This checklist contains the elements of an effective policy. The scope of each section will depend on the nature of the policy.


  • Contains brief statements of facts and/or statistics that outline the issue being addressed and supports the need for the policy
  • Also includes a statement that explains the goal(s) the policy is intended to achieve

Policy Guidelines

  • State the prohibitions and/or requirements of the policy and identify the parties to whom the provisions apply


  • States the steps to disseminate, publicize and implement the policy


  • Identifies the parties responsible for enforcement, outlines the enforcement procedures, any penalties and fines that may be imposed, and any appeal process

Quality Measures

  •  Includes any quality measures that will track outcomes of the policy

Final Statement

  • Includes any exemptions or exceptions to the requirements that are necessary to achieve the purpose of the policy
  • Example of an exception is the allowance for traditional tobacco

Definition of Terms

  • Detailed explanations of the key terms in the policy


  • Includes any resources or references utilized in the rationale or other sections of the Policy

Contact Information

  • Contact information for technical assistance regarding the policy

Effective Date

  • The date that the policy goes into effect

Policy Monitoring and Review

  • Indicates which program/person will evaluate and revise the policy, and the frequence at which this will happen

Review Date

  • Most recent review date of the policy

Section 3

Policy Review Checklist

This checklist should be referred to throughout the policy development process to ensure that the policy is comprehensive, understandable, and will achieve the policy goals.


  • Are all the policy elements included? Refer to Section 2: Policy Elements Checklist.
  • Are the elements in order?


  • Are the findings/rationale evidence-based?
  • Do the findings support the purpose of the policy?
  • Do the findings anticipate challenges?
  • Does the rationale explain the goal(s) of the policy?


  • Are all the key terms defined?
  • Are any unnecessary terms defined?
  • Do the definitions anticipate new concepts or products?

Policy Guidelines

  • Are all the requirements and prohibitions reasonable?
  • Do the provisions address the purpose?
  • Are the provisions consistent with other policies and laws?
  • Are the provisions clearly stated?
  • Is it clear who the policy applies to?


  • Are the exceptions or exemptions limited and written as narrowly as possible?


  • Does the policy state who is responsible for enforcing the policy?
  • Does the policy state the consequences for violating the policy?
  • Does the policy explain any appeal procedures?

Stylistic Considerations

  • Are the same terms used for the same concepts consistently throughout the policy?
  • Is the policy clear and concise?
  • Is the tone consistent?
  • Is the person consistent?
  • Is active voice used throughout?
  • Are all acronyms defined?

Review/Revision of Policy

  • Is there a program/person identified to review the policy?
  • Is there a date identified for review of the policy?


  • Stakeholders: a person or organization with an interest or concern for the policy
  • Prohibitions: the act or practice of forbidding something
  • Provisions: a condition or requirement