By this time:
- You will have a clear understanding of the needs and aspirations as well as the range of strengths or assets that exist within your community.
- You will have engaged the wider community in developing their future vision and what their broad priorities are.
- You will have identified your key stakeholders who can help you to make progress on your identified priorities.
The next stage is to develop your action plan – this is essentially the means by which you aim to turn the broad vision into reality. This stage of the action planning process can be sub-divided into the following activities:
Bringing your planning group together
By the end of your stakeholder session you should have identified a range of people and/or organisations who can help you achieve your purpose. Now you need to set up your planning group who can piece it all together and develop something for wider consideration. Planning by committee is always difficult so you should try to keep the group as tight as possible but with options to invite in others as appropriate. From the outset you should agree ways of working (ground rules) and clear communication processes between all group members. One way of doing this is establishing a simple working agreement where all participants can be clear about their commitments/ responsibilities in being part of the community-led action planning process.
Putting the plan together
In putting the plan together we need to be clear about
- what we’re trying to achieve (our outcomes)
- how we will know and show that we’ve been successful (our indicators and measures for success)
- how we’re going to go about it and what we’re going to do (our methods and actions)
For the purposes of your community-led action plan your starting point will always be your vision and the key priorities identified by the community. The challenge within action planning is to turn this into something which is SMART! See the SMART outcomes fact sheet for more on this.
Your outcomes are the key part of this stage of the process and we suggest that for each of your broad priority areas that your core group identify key outcomes, along with success measures and evidence sources before moving on to consideration of the methods and actions that will be used to achieve the outcomes. This is likely to need at least a couple of sessions to allow everyone involved to have their say, contribute their ideas, and agree the final draft of the action plan. Session Plans one & two for this part of the process (with blank Action Plan templates).
Checking it out with the community
By this stage of the process you should have a detailed draft community-led action plan. It is important that the wider community are able to see this and comment on it before it is finalised. You may want to do this through an event, or by circulating the plan via various methods as outlined previously. It is important to remember that at this stage you are seeking comments/views only and that it is unlikely you will need to make major changes to the plan. It will also be an opportunity to get further support/endorsement from the community for the outcomes that you’re seeking to achieve.
You will need to let the community know how and when you are going to feedback to them on progress as well as how you are going to involve them in shaping and refining the plan over the coming months and years.