Integration is key. Each planning element should support the achievement of other elements across the Integrated Planning and Reporting framework. The most effective way to achieve an integrated suite of plans is to develop the plans with an integrated (cross-council) group of planners, so that as each plan begins to take shape, the impact on or consequences of other plans in the suite can be considered, and each plan adjusted accordingly.
Tips for achieving integration across the suite of plans:
- Plan appropriate timeframes to enable each component of the framework to be developed in an iterative way, taking into consideration the impacts and consequences of the other plans in the suite (the ‘Community Strategic Plan’ chapter of the Integrated Planning and Reporting Manual for local government in NSW provides for suggestions on timeframes and sequencing).
- Approach Integrated Planning as a whole-of-council activity. Some councils have established IP&R working parties to facilitate the planning process.
- Use the themes identified in the Community Strategic Plan as the basis of the structure for the Delivery Program and Operational Plan
- Use colour coding and numerical referencing to connect the goals in the Community Strategic Plan through the Delivery Program to the actions in the Operational Plan. Where appropriate, the same coding can be applied to the Resourcing Strategy documents to make clear how specific programs or activities are to be resourced.
- Track specific activities across the suite of plans to ensure all aspects have been appropriately considered. For example, if the Workforce Plan has a strategy to “Develop a new recruitment and selection portal on the website”, the Delivery Program should indicate which year this will be undertaken, and the budget for its ongoing maintenance should be incorporated into the Long-Term Financial Plan.
The Integrated Planning and Reporting Manual for local government in NSW provides detailed information about integrating the plans and good practice examples.