Council annually holds a strategic planning strategy session.
Strategic Planning is an essential practice that assists local governments in defining expectations for the future, guides in decision making and, charts a course for dealing with changing conditions and community needs.
It is premised on the understanding that Council (and the organization) cannot control change but rather, they can merely attempt to respond to it by:
• Identifying Change – scanning the environment to determine key influences
• Understanding Change – determining significant matters to be addressed
• Dealing with Change – developing strategies that achieve desired results
Strategic Priority Setting is all about determining which strategic topics will be acted upon within limited capacity. The process focuses on the ‘NOW’ strategic priorities. It also identifies those that will be acted upon ‘NEXT’ and ‘LATER’ as longer term strategic directions.
Setting Priorities. In many strategic plans there are often gaps between expectations and reality. Strategic Priority Setting is about managing this gap. Council and senior staff meet in a workshop setting to set short-term (or NOW) strategic priorities and longer-term (NEXT) strategic directions.
Participants discussed what success would look like for the Village in five areas of a sustainable community – Economy, Environment, Social, Infrastructure and Governance. These expectations led to a discussion of what is currently working well and areas that need attention in relation to the Village’s vision and goals contained in the Village of Lumby Strategic Plan.
The next step was to identify and rank issues and opportunities impacting the region and the organization. Council reviewed the short-list of items to determine Strategic Topics that warranted investigation during the workshop.
The Strategic Topics were discussed and ‘unpacked’ by clarifying the focus of each, identifying desired outcomes, exploring options and developing potential actions for each topic. Reality, urgency and responsibility criteria were applied to each of these strategic possibilities to define which should be considered as priorities.
After thorough review, Council determined its strategic priorities that could be acted upon NOW over the next 12 months, those that would be tackled NEXT/LATER as longer term strategic directions, as well as actions primarily for the attention of staff. These Council Priorities and Operational Strategies are contained in a one page Strategic Priorities Chart.