Spotlight on… Strategic Planning

Posted on 13th Oct 2021

In our latest Spotlight on series we shine a light on the planning function in SCRA. We talk to our Planning and Performance Manager, Myrian Lazo, to find out more…

So, why is planning important?
Without planning, you have no sense of direction. If you think about it, you plan what time you get up in the morning, you plan what you are going to have for breakfast and what you are going to wear that day. For an organisation like SCRA, planning is critical to what we do. We need to know what we are working towards and who is doing what and when. There’s lots of moving parts within SCRA and planning helps everything come together.

How does planning work?
Planning is like a jigsaw puzzle. It’s about the process of sorting those pieces and fitting them into the right place.

Essentially, planning is about the steps required to meet an aim; how you’re getting there, what you plan to do to manage risks, changes and challenges, and who is involved to ensure the outcomes are attained. Planning can range from informal –  ‘to do lists’ to strategic management, like the development of our three year Corporate Plan and our yearly Business Plan.

It is important during any planning process that we keep in mind SCRA’s Vision, Mission and Values. This ensures that we stay aligned with our purpose, and the work we undertake is underpinned by our values, which is demonstrated by our behaviours.

What kind of things do you consider?
The planning process involves analysis of what has worked well in the past, trends, and an understanding of future demand. During the planning stages, it is important to engage and encourage participation from internal and external stakeholders to ensure a wider perspective is gained that helps formulate robust plans.

Robust plans have clear aims, objectives and actions, timescales and owners, and can be easily monitored, updated and reported on (SCRA utilises ZOHO, an online project management system that helps us stay on track). We also use a range of performance measures and key performance indicators to monitor progress on our plans.

Is it just down to one person in SCRA?
No, there’s lots of people involved at local and national level. Team work is essential for our planning to be successful, it needs everyone to come together and work collectively to make things happen.

What about planning and partnership?
Planning with our key partners is also vital. We work closely to plan things with partners such as Children’s Hearings Scotland and Social Work Scotland. We work on our plans all year round, but our strong partnerships become even more important during critical events such as COVID-19. When it comes to something like a pandemic, we cannot work alone. Everything is interlinked and we are all working towards the same thing, but coming from different angles. Therefore, it is important we come together and have a unified approach. This will ultimately strengthen the service we provide to children and families.

Do you just plan once a year?
We’re always planning, tweaking and modifying things we do on a regular basis to ensure we make a difference, and be the best we can. Planning should always be flexible to account for the unexpected, enabling us to adjust to ongoing changes and requirements.

Any final words on the importance of planning Myrian?
Change is part and parcel of life, but how we manage change varies from person to person. Managing change within SCRA requires patience, time, and a cohesive approach; it’s essential that everyone works together to enable the organisation to achieve its aims, which ultimately ensures we deliver our mission and keep aspiring towards our vision.

Want more information?
If you are interested in reading our plans, they are all available on our website, including our Corporate Plan 2020-2023 and our Rights, Inclusion and Corporate Parenting Plan 2021-2023.

If you have any questions, we would love to hear from you. Please get in touch.

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