Guidelines for Strategic Planning In Parliaments
Strategic planning is a process that involves the statement of an organization’s most important goals, the implementation of plans to achieve them, the assessment of progress, and the continual revision and updating of objectives, resources, and schedules.
The Guidelines for Strategic Planning in Parliament are intended to strengthen and support the strategic planning discipline in parliaments by providing explanations into what strategic planning is, why it is critical, and how it can be applied in the parliamentary context.
The Guidelines are aimed at, on the one hand, the political and administrative leadership of parliaments - to guide them in facilitating and creating an environment conducive to strategic planning; this audience will be especially interested in why certain conditions need to be met and steps need to be taken - and, on the other hand at senior parliamentary staff and officials who will be tasked with, among others, authoring parliamentary strategy documents and implementing the strategic plans. They will be especially concerned with how to carry out the specific steps of strategic planning to ensure realistic and feasible, yet ambitious plans.
The Guidelines place strategic planning within a context of functional areas that are common to most modern-day parliaments around the world, including: constitutional functions of parliament; accessibility and transparency; parliamentary operations; human resources and information and communication technology.
The current version of the Guidelines will focus on accessibility and transparency through Public Communication and Outreach and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as these are strongly interlinked. The strategic planning process and its analytical tools as presented in these Guidelines may be applied in a similar manner in the other areas.
The Guidelines identify a series of steps within the strategic planning process that lead to a structured gathering of information, and analysis and production of critical inputs for the subsequent planning steps. The four strategic planning steps are:
Step 1: Describe the present: CURRENT STATE;
Step 2: Imagine the future: VISION STATEMENT
Step 3: Foresee the challenges: GAP ANALYSIS
Step 4: Define the strategy: ACTION PLANS
Step 1 focuses on information gathering in order to understand and describe the current context of the parliamentary mandates and responsibilities, organization, the functional areas including its services, key processes and support systems. It is concluded by brief analyses of the internal and external environment.
Step 2 captures the long term view of key decision makers and stakeholders on the future direction of the parliament in terms of the vision, strategic goals and objectives for services, processes and systems that are required to support the functional areas, and so eventually to create a better parliament, reflecting its core values, mandates and responsibilities.
Steps 3 and 4 identify the gaps and challenges between the current state and the future vision, and provide guidance on how to formulate strategic recommendations and action plans.
Accompanying the description of each step are examples and templates that demonstrate when and how to support the information gathering and analysis tasks. For clarity, these examples and templates can be found in the appendices of this document.
Finally the Guidelines provide information, references and links on best practices, methods and factors that could be taken into consideration during the preparation, implementation and evaluation of the strategy.
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