Making a plan

field final

It is important to be clear about what you are trying to achieve, why, and how; and to use good information and data to inform your decisions. Do not just do what you are familiar with!

Develop a plan for any engagement activity. The detail and size of the plan needs to be proportional to the engagement task.

There are clear benefits to having plans written down rather than  in your head.

  • plans make the delivery of engagement activities more effective and less time is wasted on mistakes
  • plans makes it easier to get input from other people or agencies
  • team working is much easier when everyone can see the strategy
  • plans keep knowledge in the organisation. If someone leaves an organisation the knowledge will stay
  • plans encourage realism – they help people plan according to available resources
  • plans allow difficult issues and risks to be identified in advance, so mitigating actions can be agreed
  • they help managers to be clear about what is happening
  • plans create a record of what was thought at the start which makes it possible to review the effectiveness of the engagement.
  • written plans capture learning and therefore improve organisational effectiveness on engagement.

Kaizen have written more about developing plans and strategies for engagement.

This list of questions will help you think through your plan.

You can also download a worksheet to help you brainstorm
  1. What are you trying to achieve? Be as specific as possible.
  2. What is open for influence, what has been decided?
  3. Where does your engagement fit on the ladder of participation? Information, consultation, empowerment, co-production?
  4. What are your resources? List people, money, networks, other organisations
  5. What is your timescale?
  6. What are the local barriers and challenges likely to be? How are you going to overcome them?
  7. Why are residents going to want to engage, what is their motivation likely to be, what’s in it for them?
  8. Who is living in the community you are targeting?
  9. What different approaches will you need for different groups? For young and older people? For different ethnicities? For people who do not have good English? For people online and offline? For people who are very busy?
  10. What is the recent history of engagement with this group of people or on this issue?
  11. How is the decision going to be taken about what is taken forward out of the engagement?
  12. How are you going to feed back?

Finally, check out this advice on engaging everyone in the area or population you are targeting!