Administrative Plans (Admin Plans) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are a housing authority’s “playbook” according to Bea Barberio, Quadel Senior Program and Policy Advisor. Over her Quadel career, Barberio has updated nearly a dozen Administrative Plans and SOPs. It’s one of her most common projects – and one she most enjoys.
Barberio offers her thoughts on Quadel’s approach to writing custom Administrative Plans and SOPs and why better service delivery is in the details.
The Difference Between Policy and Procedure
Quadel believes it is best practice to update, or at least review, Administrative Plans and SOPs once a year. As part of her task to write customized policies and procedures for each client, Barberio has noticed a similar pattern over the years. Outdated documents often include unneeded procedural information or inapplicable regulations.
This common problem makes the organization inefficient.
“We try to take away the procedural language and just leave policy language in Administrative Plans because leadership won’t have to go through a public notice process and approve a new Admin Plan each time they change a procedure,” Barberio said. “There’s a fine line between policy and procedure. And it’s easy to start adding a few lines here and a few sentences there. It’s sort of a slippery slope, but we try to maintain that distinction. We find that this gives a PHA the most flexibility – which is what you want.”
Generic Procedures Help No One
Barberio takes pride in Quadel’s approach to writing customized policies and procedures for clients. Each project starts with a thorough discussion of PHA expectations and desired outcomes, any PHA pain points or issues, and a review of current PHA documents. If time is not taken to understand current conditions at each PHA, policies and procedures become generic and can cause more problems than they solve.
“We want to see what is being done currently, gather a baseline and then draft procedures that work for that particular PHA. Procedures will have certain elements that are the same. A recert is a recert and an interim is an interim, but you also have to respond to area conditions and things that are unique to a PHA,” Barberio said. “The PHA ends up with a product it can really use, and leadership will be able to see the difference in how the organization operates.”
Administrative Plans and SOPs are Key to Overall Improvement
It is not uncommon for clients to reach out to Quadel and request an update to policies and procedures that might be decades old. Barberio said these updates, while critical, do not necessarily fall into the realm of PHA staff day-to-day tasks. This results in delayed updates and inefficient work conditions.
“Having updated Administrative Plans, SOPs, forms and so forth is actually going to make (executive directors’) jobs easier. It will be easier to manage their staff and create expectations of staff because everyone will have the same playbook,” Barberio said. “I think developing these procedures and making sure they work for the communities and people they serve is critical to promoting a culture of excellence among staff. I get satisfaction knowing (the new documents and procedures) will be used and result in better service for the customer base and result in a more efficient and higher-functioning PHA.”
Interested in discussing your Administrative Plan or Standard Operating Procedure needs with Quadel? Contact Proposal Associate, Hannah Troyer, for a customized proposal today.