The expectations placed on public safety agencies increase every day—from doing more with smaller budgets and fewer staff to improving communications between dispatchers and emergency responders in the field, to decreasing response times and improving response outcomes. In today’s constantly evolving emergency communications landscape, the public sector can take a cue from private organizations and prioritize initiatives, goals and ideas through strategic-plan development.
What is a Strategic Plan?
A strategic plan is, essentially, a roadmap. In the same way a compass helps a traveler orient himself in the direction he plans to take, a strategic plan helps to drive an organization toward a specific goal. A strategic plan supports an agency’s vision and outlines the steps required to overcome challenges, meet internal and external expectations, and enhance operations.
Unlike the private sector, public safety agencies are not planning to thwart their competitors. Rather, they are planning for internal change and building and implementing the systems that continuously can help them achieve specific goals.
There are many models and processes that will guide development of your agency’s strategic plan. However, any good strategic plan includes the following key elements:
- Vision: What do you want your agency to look like 5, 10 or 15 years from now? What goals do you have that might seem out of reach now, but could be achieved down the road with a little work?
- Mission: Similar to vision, but with a bit more detail. Your agency’s mission statement provides details on what your agency provides to external stakeholders.
- Short-Term Goals and Objectives: Choose specific, measurable goals and objectives that your agency can realistically achieve in a set period.
- Action Plan: Your action plan consists of the steps you need to take to achieve your short-term goals and objectives. It outlines how you plan to reach your goals and, most importantly, who will be responsible for making sure the goals are met.
- Scorecard: Including a scorecard as part of your strategic plan helps you and your personnel keep track of goals and objectives status. A scorecard also can help you identify weak spots in your plan where you may need additional support.
Once you’ve identified what needs to go into your strategic plan, it’s time to select a strategic-planning model and begin the planning process. Not sure where to start? Download our on-demand webinar to learn more about the benefits of strategic planning for public safety agencies and information on developing your plan.