Fact sheet: Planning Session 1

Related sections: Planning ahead

This fact sheet provides an outline of what a first planning session should cover – focusing particularly on outcomes, indicators and evidence.

Starting Points

This section is about looking at what we want to achieve and how we will know we've been successful. The starting points for this section of the process are the:

  • results from the ‘finding out’ and ‘reaching out’ stages of the process which should have identified the overall vision for the local community as well as the community needs, assets, and priorities
  • the stakeholder contributions from all key partners

In this session you will focus on 3 key questions:

Outcomes - What do we want to achieve?

These will be statements of what difference you want to make in connection with the identified priorities. Depending on these priorities, you may want to identify outcomes that are short-term, medium-term or long-term.

Indicators - How will we know we have been successful, and how will we show this?

Once outcomes have been defined it is useful and important to think about how they would be measured. In other words, how would the community group and the community know that change had taken place? This means establishing outcome indicators – signs to indicate any difference that has been made.

Evidence - How will we show we have achieved our outcomes?

You will also need to consider how you can gather the evidence you need to show that the difference has been made.

Structuring the session

A good way to go about planning is to think ahead to how people would like their community or their community group to be at some point in the future - perhaps two or three years ahead. What would it be like if nothing was done? What could it be like if something was done to tackle problems or issues?

It can be helpful to let people's ideas flow freely at first - in an ideal world, how would things be? Then it can be narrowed down to things that may be realistic, even if a little ambitious. At the end of these discussions it should be possible to establish some outcomes - in other words agreed and clearly expressed statements of how things should be in the future.

However, it is important to keep people focused on the overall vision and the priorities identified at the assessment stage - so have these to hand, as handouts, on a flipchart or on slides.

Depending on your preferred way of working, the outcomes, indicators and evidence sources can be written up in a table as shown on the template or portrayed more visually (for example, mapping them on to wall charts or by using available computer software programmes). It is important that you use the methods that everyone is most comfortable with.

Once your outcomes, indicators and evidence sources are agreed these will form the basis of your more detailed action planning (Session 2)