1. Why is it important for a municipality to have a Strategic Plan?
Basically, strategic planning helps a municipality to:
- Identify clear goals
- Guide and streamline decision making
- Approach planning in a holistic manner
- Establish team work
- Promote an organizational culture of continuous improvement
A strategic plan spells out where an organization wants to go, how it’s going to get there, and helps us decide how and where to allocate resources, ensuring alignment to the strategic priorities and objectives.
The Vision provides the direction of the organization, the Mission describes the overall purpose of the organization and the Values provide the core expectations of the staff working for the organization.
2. How will the Plan be used?
The Strategic Plan is the Corporation’s guiding document; the lens through which Council and staff view and support the city’s strategic priorities. The Plan, as a result of the identified strategic priorities, objectives and actions helps to guide decision-making, focusing the City's efforts.
3. How will the City implement the Plan?
The City's future Departmental Business Plans will include the identified strategic actions and will provide additional details on what specific tasks need to be undertaken to support the strategic priorities and strategic objectives identified within the 2012-2015 Strategic Plan, which will be linked to future budgets.
The approval of the Plan took place on April 25, 2012. Over the coming weeks and months additional information will be shared with staff in regards to how the Plan will be communicated and implemented across the organization, addressing questions around how to operationalize the Plan.
The intent is for the plan to become a living document by which all staff can see the work that they do contained within it. Opportunities for discussion on how to make this happen will be made available at all levels of the corporation throughout 2012.
Additional information and tools will be shared as they become available. It is anticipated that although some of this may be communicated to staff from the City Manager and/or your General Managers, much of it will come from your Supervisors and Managers themselves.
4. What is the term this plan will cover?
The 2012-2015 Strategic Plan is intended to guide and inform the priorities of Council and staff through 2015. However, this is a dynamic and evolving Plan based on an assessment of the political and public environment at a specific point in time. New issues, challenges, trends and opportunities may emerge over the life span of the Strategic Plan. In addition to an annual progress report, the Plan will be reviewed annually and, if needed, adjusted to reflect changes in the political and public environment, to ensure Council priorities and community needs are being addressed.
5. What process was followed in the development of the Plan?
Staff initiated the strategic planning process immediately following the October 2010 Municipal Council by discussing with each new Councillor what they heard from the public while canvassing. This provided staff with a clear understanding of the priorities of the community, without having to undertake an extensive public consultation exercise.
Internally, the plan was developed through a process that engaged not only Members of Council and the Senior Management Team but that also engaged the City’s Extended Management Team (EMT - Managers, Directors and General Managers - nearly 200 staff). This is a significant difference from the previous 2008-2011 Strategic Plan, which was developed by Members of Council and the Senior Management Team only.
6. How were citizens involved?
Given that the 2012-2015 Strategic Plan was developed based on the foundation and strengths of previous plans, the public was not actively engaged, as part of this process. Members of Council did however share with staff the priorities identified to them by the public as part of the 2010 Municipal Election process.
Next steps include a comprehensive community and stakeholder engagement exercise that will shape the City’s next strategic plan, by bringing together the City’s long term Vision (Vision 2020) and City’s strategic planning process.
7. What role will City Council have in realizing the Strategic Plan?
City Council is committed to improving Hamilton’s image in addition to making it a great city to live, work, play and learn. Council strongly supports the three priority areas that staff are being directed to focus their efforts around.
The Strategic Plan provides Council with a guide by which they can use in making key decisions for the city. Council will have opportunities to review and confirm their strategic priorities, objectives and related strategic actions each year through an annual Strategic Plan progress report, in addition to the approval of Departmental Business Plans and future budget processes.
8. How will I know the City is making progress?
Achievements in regards to the specific actions identified as part of the proposed 2012-2015 Strategic Plan will be reported on annually. It will be delivered to City Council and the community to help monitor progress and to keep the Plan on track.