Business Planning and Monitoring
The scope of the planning process
Fig 4 outlines the scope of the business planning process. It indicates that the organization should seek to attain its declared mission in a way that can be judged to be providing value-for-money conceived of as “best value”. That is, it should plan and monitor its activities with a view to achieving all of the following:
• the efficient use of resources;
• performance based objectives; and,
• outcomes that are in line with the needs and interests of its shareholders or stakeholders (levels A and B in fig. 4).
These planned-for outcomes need to be monitored and this requires the application of monitoring ‘tools’ (level C in fig.4).
The results of monitoring need to be recorded and acted upon in order to achieve ‘continuous improvement’ (level D in fig.4).
The key relationships and central questions
The following discussion is based on fig.4 (above). Level A in fig.4 represents the four value-for-money (VFM) relationships that are identified in fig.3. The private sector commercial company needs to pursue profit and ‘goodwill’ in order to prosper. The ‘best value’ social business also has to bear these four relationships in mind when developing and implementing its business plan. The identification of these business relationships points to the following questions that underlie the whole business planning process.
1. Efficiency relationship: Are we making the best use of our limited resources?
2. Effectiveness relationship: Are we achieving our declared objectives?
3. Equity relationship: Are the cost burdens and output benefits distributed fairly between the various stakeholders?
4. Experiential relationship: Are the shareholders or service users and other stakeholders satisfied with what we do and how we do it?
These four relationship questions have to be addressed before the key delivery question can be considered:
Are we achieving our mission and vision in a way that delivers ‘best value’?