How to use these Guidelines
The ''Guidelines for Strategic Planning in Parliaments” describe the steps required for developing parliamentary strategic plans. Strategic planning is ideally carried out in a holistic manner taking into account the goals, needs and available resources at different levels across the entire institution. In practice, strategic planning can also be carried out for specific areas within the parliament, e.g. strategic planning for improving the legislative function, achieving greater transparency and accountability, enhancing public communication, or instituting more effective use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
These Guidelines have therefore been designed in a modular way. Depending on the scope of the strategic planning effort, different components of the Guidelines will be relevant.
The Guidelines are structured around four core strategic planning steps that should be followed for every strategic planning exercise in parliament , whether it is for the entire institution or focuses on a specific area or sector.
In describing each of the four core steps, some subsections have been dedicated to specific functional areas within parliaments. Currently these include Public Communication and Outreach and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Thus to develop a strategic plan for ICT, the core steps should be followed as well as the accompanying sections on ICT; the parts dedicated to Public Communication and Outreach may be disregarded. The end-result will be an ''Action Plan for ICT''. The same approach would be used to develop a strategic plan for Public Communication and Outreach, in which case the parts that may be left out are the ones labeled ''Information and Communication Technologies''.
In addition to the core steps and the guidelines for specific areas, the appendices contain templates and examples that also follow this modularity. That is, some of the examples and templates are intended for ICT strategic planning purposes while others are for Public Communication and Outreach. Subsections that focus on other areas, such as legislation activities, will be added later.
At the end of each step (each chapter) links are provided for further reading, including on-line resources to learn more about different strategic planning approaches, methods and techniques.