The role of policy development in a sporting or recreation organisation is to guide the actions of all persons involved or connected with the organisation in regard to any area of activity in which the organisation has jurisdiction. Policies are guidelines for directors, committee members, employers and members and
In some cases policies must be observed (mandatory) whilst in other cases policies serve as only as guidelines (advisory). The consequences of acting in contravention to a policy, which is mandatory, will be different to the consequences of acting in contravention to a policy, which is advisory. In the case of a failure to observe a policy which is mandatory there will be prescribed penalties.
For instance an athlete found guilty of using a banned substance to enhance performance in contravention to a sporting body's policy on "Drugs in Sport" will suffer an automatic ban from the sport. However in the case of a person who has failed to observe the organisation's safety policy will "suffer the consequences". Such consequences may range from nothing at all to the possibility of being sued in a civil court or even indicted on a criminal charge.
Policies should not be seen only as a set of rules for people to follow. Governments, organisations and even individuals may formulate policies that are trend setting or future shaping. For instance, a recreation organisation may have a policy for fostering recreation activities that are non-competitive in nature. Such a policy will determine the future of the organisation in terms of the people who are likely to be members, the types of events that will be organised and the future growth potential of the organisation.