- How to protect your public safety agency
- Top 5 benefits of using public safety policy software
- Benefits beyond the department
How to protect your public safety agency
As high-trust organizations, public safety agencies are held to higher standards. Now more than ever, public safety organizations are feeling the weight of public scrutiny and the pressure to be more transparent.
A simple and effective way to meet these growing expectations is to share public safety policies with the public. However, many agencies still rely on outdated, paper-based processes to manage their policies, which may lead to internal inefficiencies that ultimately erode public trust and leave them vulnerable to liability.
Losing track of paper versions, missing handwritten signatures, and operating from outdated policies are common challenges of traditional policy management. Thankfully, switching to digital policy management software can alleviate these issues and unlock a host of additional benefits.
Keep reading to discover the top 5 benefits of using policy management software in public safety agencies.
Top 5 benefits of using public safety policy software
Public policy software is a powerful solution capable of improving transparency and efficiency in public safety operations. When policies and procedures are inaccessible, outdated, and inconsistent across departments, it can leave agencies vulnerable to heightened criticism, costly inefficiencies, and liability.
From keeping employees accountable to streamlining accreditation, policy management software can help public safety agencies overcome the challenges of poor transparency and inefficient operations. Keep reading to discover more ways digital policy management can benefit your organization.
1. Build a culture of trust
With confidence in major public institutions in decline, ensuring public safety policies are publicly accessible can help agencies build trust with their communities.
Policy sharing holds public safety agencies accountable, fosters better communication and collaboration with the public, and ensures agencies are responsive to the evolving needs of the community.
Unfortunately, continuously updating public documents requires significant resources, which is especially challenging for short-staffed agencies. Communicating updates to the public is another task requiring valuable time and attention.
Policy management software is a strong solution to this challenge. Agencies can update policies in real-time, making them visible to the public with the click of a button. When public-facing documents are automatically updated and displayed, agencies ensure the public and media are properly informed at all times.
- Eliminate the time-consuming process of asking IT to publish policy updates.
- Respond to urgent matters promptly by updating policies more quickly compared to paper-based processes.
- Easily embed documents onto a public-facing website so policies are readily accessible to the public.
2. Keep employees accountable
Making sure an entire workforce is up-to-date on current policies is challenging, especially when staff works remotely or is on the move. Ensuring your staff can access, read, and understand policies is a critical aspect of accountability and reducing the risk of liability.
Outdated, paper-based processes limit accountability as agencies cannot easily verify whether every staff member has read and comprehended a policy. Moreover, tracking staff members for handwritten signatures is a time-consuming and often unrealistic method for most organizations.
In contrast, digital policy management allows public safety agencies to distribute mission-critical information to staff and verify they acknowledge and understand the material. System features also help department leaders identify who may need additional training based on the amount of time they spent reviewing the policies.
Here are a few more features from solutions like PowerPolicy that help keep employees accountable:
- Send policy updates directly to staff and set automatic reminders, so no policy is forgotten or ignored.
- Build custom tests to verify employee understanding of mission-critical policies.
- Protect against liability by easily proving if staff acknowledge and understand any policy.
3. Streamline the accreditation process
For some public safety agencies, accreditation is an important aspect of maintaining compliance and building credibility. However, the accreditation process is often time-consuming and resource intensive for already overworked departments.
By using a policy management solution, agencies can easily align policies with existing accreditation standards. Some policy management systems can also automate the accreditation process, so that agencies don’t spend valuable time searching for individual policies.
Here’s how policy management software, like PowerPolicy, helps with the public safety accreditation process:
- Save even more time by using common accreditation standards built right into the system.
- Map policies directly to the established standards of accrediting bodies.
- Automate notifications to know when policies are impacted by updated accrediting standards.
4. Eliminate costly inefficiencies
Managing paper policies requires valuable man-hours from agencies with little bandwidth. Various, outdated versions of the same policy are often found circulating departments with no owner, making it challenging to keep track of past versions, edit histories, and previous signatures.
Disorganized stacks of paper, overflowing filing cabinets, and misplaced red folders leads to tedious administrative work and may open the department up to liability when something is inevitably missed.
Transitioning to a digital policy management system can eliminate inefficient, costly paper processes that monopolize employees’ valuable time. With a single source of truth, staff can serve their community with confidence that they’re following the most updated policy.
Here are a few more ways the right solution can help public safety organizations eliminate costly inefficiencies:
- Empower staff with 24/7 access to policies and procedures to reduce risk of liability.
- Create powerful workflows to review, edit, and approve documents more quickly than the red folder method.
- Save thousands in paper and printing costs alone, just by switching to digital policy management.
5. Operate effectively in crisis
Extreme, unplanned events can strike at any time. During times of crisis, public safety departments must be equipped to respond effectively.
As part of an effective crisis management communication strategy, agencies often need immediate access to policies to provide coordinated, accurate responses to the public. Additionally, policies may need updating during a crisis to maintain compliance, which could require collaboration from multiple agencies on new policy language and terms.
Paper-based policy management may limit access to critical policies for public safety employees working off site and in different locations. Traditional processes can also prevent agencies from making real-time, coordinated updates to policies during times of crisis.
Digital policy management serves as a single source of truth for policies. By storing important documents online on protected servers, policies and procedures are available when agencies need them most. With automated workflows built into the system, staff can collaborate more easily on urgent policy updates.
Here are a few more features, built into solutions like PowerPolicy, that can assist public safety agencies in times of crisis:
- Cloud-based storage of important documents allows staff to access and collaborate on files, any time, anywhere.
- In the event of a cyberattack, policies remain safe and accessible.
- Update policies up to 4x faster compared to traditional, paper-based processes, which is critical in times of crisis.
Benefits beyond the department
The benefits of digitizing policy management extend beyond improvements to public safety operations. Streamlined policy management allows departments to be transparent with their policies and decisions.
As a result, agency employees are held accountable for their actions while establishing credibility and confidence within the community. Over time, these acts of transparency build trust and respect for public safety workers, ultimately creating a safer environment for all.
As you search for policy management software, remember that few solutions offer all of the features described above, and many are not designed for the unique needs of first responders. It’s important to do your research as you look for a solution.
PowerPolicy by PowerDMS offers all of those features and more. It’s fast, efficient, and easy to use, all while protecting your information with industry-leading security.