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    Business planning toolkit Business planning toolkit Document Transcript

    • Version 1 July 2007 © Together for Children 2007 Page 1 of 20 Version 1 July 2007
    • Contents Contents...........................................................................................................................................................2 Introduction.......................................................................................................................................................3 How to use the Business Planning Toolkit........................................................................................................6 1. Getting Started: Planning Checklist.............................................................................................................9 2. Developing a Service/Centre Business Plan..............................................................................................14 3. Resourcing the Business Plan...................................................................................................................16 Ten Top Tips for Children’s Centre Business Planning..................................................................................18 4. Reviewing and Measuring the Impact........................................................................................................19 Document Properties Document Owner Pat Gale Organisation Together for Children Title Business Planning toolkit Version History 10th July 2007 v1 Pat Gale First Release © Together for Children 2007 Page 2 of 20 Version 1 July 2007
    • Introduction The business planning toolkit has been developed to help support local authorities, their stakeholder partners and individual children’s centres in considering different approaches to service and business plan development. It is based on a range of experience gathered from across England and should be considered as part of a continuous improvement process, learning from experience and promising practice. Together for Children thank all the contributors for their advice and input into this evolving resource, the intention being to add to the business planning toolkit on an ongoing basis to reflect the different stages of children’s centre development across the country. It takes account of the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) guidance on: • the Sure Start children’s centres Practice Guidance (November 2006) • the Planning and Performance Management Guidance (November 2006) • the Governance and Management of Extended Schools and Sure Start children’s centre Guidance (May 2007) Why was the resource developed? Together for Children identified service or business planning as an area for potential development in response to a number of developments. In December 2006, the National Audit Office report on children’s centres identified a number of areas for development, such as: • The need to ensure that the most excluded and needy families access their services from children’s centres • The need to plan effective working partnerships with other agencies that can deliver services through children’s centres, such as Health and Jobcentre Plus • The sharing of resources across areas to avoid gaps and duplication and make delivery more cost effective and efficient • The collection of hard and soft data on performance • A better understanding of costs and measurable outcomes and outputs • Mechanisms in place to establish the costs of services, how well they are being used and what is the impact • Staff capability with financial expertise is developed at a range of levels In January 2007, DCSF discussions with a sample of local authorities identified the following: • Many local authorities are not allocating funding on the basis of the costs of delivery, as many of those costs are not known © Together for Children 2007 Page 3 of 20 Version 1 July 2007
    • • There was a diverse range of approaches, from complex formula funding to simply dividing the total budget by the numbers of centres • That a number of local authorities are demonstrating economies of scale through shared resources and locality delivery • That there was still a “grant culture” in resourcing children’s centres, with centre managers driven by “staying within budget” rather than delivering value for money • The recording of income and expenditure at centre level differed widely, and there was little consistency in approach • Limited evidence of business planning and financial forecasting being systematically carried out In November 2006, Together for Children carried out a self-evaluation of children’s centre development with local authorities, which highlighted the following key areas for support: • How to start the business planning process and involve all partners at a range of levels • Designing a business plan schedule and delivery plan to meet the children’s centre guidance • How to ensure synergy between commissioning, service planning and performance management. • Sharing examples of different approaches to financial planning and value for money • How to plan and develop appropriate and affordable early years learning and childcare through children’s centres In April 2007, Together for Children carried out a survey with a sample of local authorities on what specific support and development resources would be useful: • 66% of the sample were unsure about business planning, but the rest confident and happy to share their emerging practice • More support needed on how to link business planning with commissioning services and performance management • Advice on how to cost services other than childcare • Advice on how to ensure sufficient and sustainable childcare • Advice on risk management • Models from different contexts, such as authority-wide, centre level, rural, urban and in both 70% and 30% areas • A web based support product that would evolve over time and be amended and enhanced to reflect emerging promising practice and changes in policy or focus • A resource that would stimulate the opportunity to ask for advice from peers and encourage a dynamic interchange and sharing of practice across the country • A resource to recognise and celebrate the achievements of children’s centre developments and the expertise and successes of professionals in the field © Together for Children 2007 Page 4 of 20 Version 1 July 2007
    • How was the resource developed? Phase 1: Designing the structure and initial content: Together for Children designed a specification building on the recommendations from local authorities, and children’s centre staff in providing a bank of resources, based on contributions from the field. Some resources were also produced where there were gaps or where a number of products could be brought together in a generic template. Phase 2: Reviewing the draft products and structure: A sample of draft products and the structure were shared for review and feedback with a range of individual authority and children’s centre colleagues, regional clusters and a network event on the emerging toolkit across two regions. Version 1 of the business planning toolkit can be accessed at: www.childrens- Phase 3: Ongoing review and identification of further materials: This phase will be ongoing, to meet changing needs and developments. There will be updates to reflect feedback and contributions from individuals, local authorities and other agencies, along with regional or cluster meetings and events that will focus on children’s centre service and business planning. Please help by sending your contributions, advice and comments Pat Gale, care of : © Together for Children 2007 Page 5 of 20 Version 1 July 2007
    • How to use the Business Planning Toolkit The business planning toolkit is designed as a web-based electronic resource, intending to encourage a dynamic learning exchange between local authorities, children’s centres and their delivery partners, such as PCT’s, SHA’s and Jobcentre Plus in progressing, improving and resourcing all four stages of the children’s centre model. (Please see section 1.3) It includes: • Signposting to other support and advice agencies, websites and resources • References to guidance and policy documents • Sample case studies • Planning and review checklists • Templates and schedules The structure of the toolkit is based on the following cyclical model which has emerged from consideration of emerging practice in the field, and reflects the importance of ensuring all key delivery partners and customers are involved in getting started and monitoring impact, regardless of whether this is at stage one or stage four of centre development. The phases of business planning development: Measuring Getting the impact Started 4 1 Who needs Resourcing to be The Plan involved? 3 1.1 What is Developing Happening The Plan Now? 2 1.2 What Needs To Happen? 1.3 © Together for Children 2007 Page 6 of 20 Version 1 July 2007
    • Phases of the business planning process: Each phase is supported by tools and templates that may be down loaded and modified to best meet the needs of a local authority, individual centre or locality. It is based on the following assumptions. Assumptions 1. DCSF guidance The stages and suggested actions reflect the recommendations from the Governance and Management of Extended Schools and Sure Start children’s centre Guidance (May 2007) that: “The local authority has overall responsibility for managing the programme in their area and for the distribution of core funding, and for co-ordinating and accounting for resources provided “in kind” or on a “quid pro quo” basis. Local authorities should work with advisory boards to ensure Sure Start children’s centres are working effectively to meet their set objectives through clear performance management mechanisms” (page 4) The guidance goes on to state in more detail: “Children’s centre budgets should be devolved in line with objectives and a delivery plan developed by the manager and agreed with the advisory board, local authority and children’s trust partners”. (page 27) and: “the manager is responsible for the budget devolved to them from the local authority and will need to involve advisory board members actively when taking decisions about the prioritisation and use of resources, and help the board develop its understanding of value for money issue”. Where the management of a centre has been contracted out to another lead agency, responsibility for managing the budget should be set out in the terms of the contract”. (Page 44) Recognition is given to Sure Start Children’s Centres Practice Guidance (Nov 2006); all children’s centre Guidance can also be downloaded from the Together for Children website 2. Children’s Trust arrangements are in place Much of the process and many of the planning tools assume that joint commissioning arrangements are being planned or are in place. Case studies and toolkits to support joint commissioning can be found online at The resources also assume that most local authorities have or are piloting performance management and self-evaluation processes particularly in line with Sure Start Children’s Centres Planning and Performance Management Guidance Early feedback from local authority colleagues is that they have interpreted the “objectives and delivery plan” (page 27 Governance Guidance) into a centre and/or locality business plan that feeds into an overarching authority-wide children’s centre service plan, which in turn feeds into the children and young people’s plan, reporting to the Children’s Trust or other arrangements. © Together for Children 2007 Page 7 of 20 Version 1 July 2007
    • Diagram showing the relationship between the business plan and other plans in a local authority. 3. The toolkit resources are based on: • New children’s centres at stage 1 of development in planning services for designation • Children’s centres at stage 2 who need to review how they develop their “plans in place” to become fully operational at stage 3 • Children’s centres at stage 3 and 4 who need to ensure their resources are being effectively targeted to reach the most needy and to make the most impact • Planning services with revenue funding It is assumed that at each stage there will be different levels of resource and impact monitoring. See section 1.3 for further information on the four stages of children’s centre development. 4. Terminology Together for Children have established that local authorities use a range of terms for what can be described as a Business Plan, for instance: • Service Plan • Action Plan • Operational Plan • Delivery Plan In this toolkit it is assumed that all terms are interchangeable. To utilise the documents and resources in this toolkit, please double click on the icons, this will open the document in another window, which you are then able to save, amend and use. Please tell us how you have used parts of the toolkit, how it has helped and how it can be enhanced. Talk to your regional Together for Children team or alternatively email us at : © Together for Children 2007 Page 8 of 20 Version 1 July 2007
    • 1. Getting Started: Planning Checklist 1.1. Who needs to be involved? Strategically this stage needs considerable investment in ensuring Children’s Trust, Governance, and existing or planned commissioning arrangements are agreed and understood before service and business planning can take place effectively at authority, locality and centre level. It is an equally important process for both new and existing children’s centres. Tools to Facilitate (Double click on document icon to open) • Who will govern, lead and manage at authority, locality or centre level? "Development Once there is confidence in a structure and process, service Proforma v1.doc" and business planning can start. This development planning pro forma from Harrow Council provides a useful schedule for getting started and identifying roles, responsibilities and timeframes. It can be used as the basis of initial discussions or as a review of what is already happening, or what needs to happen by whom and by when. • Which agencies need to be invited to join the planning process? "Harrow Wheel The Harrow Council “wheel” of partners and services highlights v1.doc" the complexities and interlinkage of planning service delivery at all stages of children’s centre developments in meeting the Every Child Matters outcomes. A blank wheel can be downloaded for team planning purposes. • Has sufficient time been built into the process to support (Please see above) partnership and interagency working? This vital issue needs to be planned for from the very start and cannot be overemphasised as an important initial investment in time. The Harrow Council planning schedule can be used as a basis for planning and prioritising. • Is there appropriate financial capacity and capability to support and offer advice to all stakeholders at local "business planning authority, locality and centre level? health check - v1.doc" This diagnostic checklist could provide a useful status report on what is available, what needs to be developed and by whom? © Together for Children 2007 Page 9 of 20 Version 1 July 2007
    • • What commissioning arrangements are in place or planned which can support or lead this process? Refer to joint This will depend on the local area, and the status and maturity commissioning guidance will impact on all other stages of business development and for development ideas service planning. • Have you considered developing a stakeholder communications strategy, in ensuring all partners from "20070706 Risk the private, voluntary and maintained sectors are Mgmt and Communications Planning - Stak engaged, informed and involved in the planning process? The strategy would develop from an earlier stage of identifying who needs to be involved and for what purpose; from advice and consultation to delivery and support. This plan should be "TfC Stakeholder regularly reviewed and updated to assure quality Management and Communications Plannin communications are in place. 1.2. What is happening now? This stage is particularly important where there are existing stage 2 and 3 centres, which may be delivering less or more than expected or required by the guidance. In planning new stage 1 centres, this will provide a basis of what needs to happen in taking the business plan forward. • Has a review of what is currently being delivered or planned to be delivered from each centre been carried "Reviewing CC Offer out, to reflect and meet the delivery requirements of the - v1.doc" four stages of children’s centre development? This review tool can be used at centre level to determine what is and what needs to happen to meet designation and full core offer. It is recommended that the authority children’s centre Lead carries out the review with the centre manager and or advisory board. It may result in making decisions about what can no longer be funded through GSSG, and what can be funded from other sources. Consideration of all centre reviews can then inform the overarching local authority delivery and development plan. (see below). • Who is resourcing what? Which agency is funding what service(s) now and in the future? See Review Tool Above Does this need to change? And why? • Where are the gaps in delivery? Does this reflect the stage of development or gaps in service? Why are there gaps? And what needs to be done? © Together for Children 2007 Page 10 of 20 Version 1 July 2007
    • Who will lead? • Is there any duplication of services? If yes, who can deliver most effectively and efficiently? How will you assess and measure that? How will you decommission services? Have any of the actions got political, staffing or other implications to be managed? Who will oversee that? • Does the mapping of services show any additional priority needs or outreach capacity that will require resourcing? How will this be taken forward? Who by? When? • How are children’s centre finances currently managed and See Business Planning reviewed? Healthcheck 1.1. Is this delegated or centrally managed? What should happen? See Sure Start By When? Governance Guidance What are the training implications for staff and advisory boards? • Is there an advisory board in place to advise and review financial planning and reporting? See Sure Start How will this be monitored? Governance Guidance Who will offer training and support? Chapter 5 • Who receives financial reports and how regularly? See Sure Start What happens to the reports? Governance Guidance Who gives feedback? Chapter 4 1.3. What needs to happen? This stage is the most critical in taking forward the service delivery. It should consider all the Sure Start Guidance and the Together for Children, management information tool – the children’s centres tracker 1.3.1 What services and support are required to be resourced at each of the four stages of children’s centres development? © Together for Children 2007 Page 11 of 20 Version 1 July 2007
    • a) For children’s centres in 30% areas: Summary attach "4 stages CC development.doc" b) For children’s centres in 70% areas see www.childrens-; 1.3.2 Summary of processes that local authorities thought may be useful to consider before a Business Plan is developed. • An authority wide review, self-evaluation and review of individual children’s centres and service developments. "Harrow Service Plan Many authorities have already started to use the Sure Start 2006-2009 May 07.doc" performance management self evaluation form, and often this process has resulted in both authority wide and individual centre or locality action plans, which can be Sure Start Performance incorporated into the business plan. Management SEF • Children’s Trusts have identified that governance arrangements, key responsibilities and accountabilities "20070706 Risk and consultation with all stakeholders has led to the Mgmt and Communications Planning - Stake development of a communication plan. A number of authorities identified the need for a stakeholder communication plan, which would complement their work on "TfC Stakeholder contestability and involvement of the private, voluntary and Management and Communications Planning maintained sectors. Sure Start Performance Management Contestability Checklist • Develop a risk register of issues that may impact on the development of Centres and services at authority, locality and centre level. "TfC Risk Register.xls" This needs to be regularly reviewed, updated and reported on at all levels. • Rigorous and consistent monitoring, reviewing and Sure Start Performance reporting arrangements are in place linked to Management SEF performance management. (Section 4) Most authorities were considering how to link business plans See section 4. with their performance monitoring arrangements. • Arrangements in place for review and refocusing of the See templates in service/business plan on a regular quarterly/annual section 4 basis. Some centres may wish to review on a monthly basis, to ensure actions on target particularly in the early stages of development. Staff and advisory board training may be needed. © Together for Children 2007 Page 12 of 20 Version 1 July 2007
    • • Financial monitoring and support systems in place. See templates in These may be at centre, locality and authority level. section 4 Does everyone know who is responsible for doing what Have staff and Advisory Board members been trained? • Strategic placing of the service and business plan in the wider corporate policy context of the local authority, linking in and reporting to the Children’s Trust, and "Harrow Service Plan partnerships and contributing to the outputs and update 07-08.pdf" outcomes of the Children and Young People’s Plan and other reporting requirements. The Harrow Borough Council approach to this can be seen in the attached Action Plan for 2007-2008. © Together for Children 2007 Page 13 of 20 Version 1 July 2007
    • 2. Developing a Service/Centre Business Plan Feedback from local authorities has recommended that there is an overarching authority-wide children’s centre service or business plan, with individual centre and locality-based business plans feeding into and contributing to it. Many authorities have service plans, but not always at individual children’s centre level. However, with the requirement to manage performance through self-evaluation and as children’s centres are maturing through stages 2 and 3 this situation is likely to change. The sample business planning template draws from a range of plans being developed around the country and can be adapted and modified to suit the needs of different contexts. 2.1 A sample business plan structure This has been developed from a number of different plans from "Business plan a range of authorities. structure blank - v1.doc" 2.2 This provides guidance on what potentially could be included in each section of the above sample Plan. "Business plan Most local authorities establish a working group to take structure draft - v1.doc" responsibility for developing each section, and then someone would edit the whole product to give a consistent approach. It needs to be owned by all partners and so time needs to be built into the process to ensure ownership and understanding. The format can be used at authority, locality and centre level. Feedback suggests that the context sections could be produced at authority level, with additions to reflect local situations, through Area Advisory Board contributions and approval. 2.3 A template for a delivery plan linked to the Every Child Matters outcomes and children’s centre core offer services "CC Plan 2007 2008 taken from the Devon Delivery Plan. -.doc" The Delivery or Action Plan reflects the operational delivery of the Business Plan, and is often referred to as the operational plan. The Delivery Plan will change more than the main body of the Business Plan, and mechanisms should be in place to regularly monitor progress against targets and timescales. 2.4. Marketing children’s centres This aspect was identified as a potential area for development in raising the profile and impact of children’s centre investment. Link to Sure Start © Together for Children 2007 Page 14 of 20 Version 1 July 2007
    • Some authorities had Sure Start wide marketing plans, but few Branding Guidelines had children’s centre specific plans. This is an area that may need further contributions. 2.5. This section shows examples of completed business, delivery and action plans from local authorities around the country, providing some useful ideas and different approaches to consider. 2.5.1 Bradford business plan This provides a useful structure with appendices for a five "Bradford Business year plan. Plan pro-forma.doc" 2.5.2. Harrow service plan This shows how the wider policy area and the ECM "Harrow Service Plan outcomes are being delivered through children’s centres. 2006-2009 May 07.doc" 2.5.3. Devon service and delivery plans This selection of plans cover local authority wide and "Devon Blank Service individual children’s centre plans, with guidance on how to Plan Proforma 2007 2008.doc" complete. "CC Plan 2007 2008 -.doc" "Completing your Service Plan 2007.doc" 2.5.4. Durham business plan Provides guidance on how to complete a Business Plan "Guide to Business which incorporates a section on marketing. Plan Co Durham v1.doc" 2.5.5. A Harrow children’s centre action plan Provides clear links to the ECM outcomes. "Harrow Action Plan.doc" © Together for Children 2007 Page 15 of 20 Version 1 July 2007
    • 3. Resourcing the Business Plan Together for Children carried out a sample survey of local authorities in April 2007 to identify the potential areas of support that were needed for children’s centre business planning. The responses were varied, but the following themes for development and support emerged: Advice on formula funding Devon A number of authorities have devised formulae for funding centres to reflect: "Devon Children's Centres Funding 2006-08.ppt" o Differences in reach and size of centre o Differences in disadvantage based on IMD statistics o Differences in the nature of the community served "Children's Centres Phase 2 Funding Formula (mod).xls" o Differences in stage of development o Rurality "Devon Funding The Devon model gives guidance on how the funding formula Formula 2007 V3.doc" has been calculated on the basis of rurality. "Devon - Explainatory Tables.xls" ___________________ Leeds The Leeds model, reflects initial planning for children’s centres, and reflects the importance of consultation and "Leeds - information sharing on the proposed rationale for future funding Allocation.xls" of centres based on IMD data and knowledge of local areas. "POSSIBLE FUNDING FORMULA FOR CHILDREN.doc" Unit costs, value for money and cost effectiveness A number of authorities have developed approaches for calculating unit costs and measuring cost effectiveness, but the Together for Children sample survey showed that this was an area for further development, and work has started on identifying emerging good practice. Research In Practice is leading the DCSF research overview on costs and outcomes for social care, and some useful and transferable guidance can be found at © Together for Children 2007 Page 16 of 20 Version 1 July 2007
    • Sample five year financial forecast spreadsheets A number of local authorities felt that sample schedules would "Example CC Model - be helpful in shaping their planning. 5 year 25 June 07.xls" A sample five year financial forecast with assumptions is attached. It can be used to calculate costs over time to reflect the different levels of input needed at each stage of a "Assumptions made children’s centre development. It also includes reference to to complete 5 year business plan 25 June 0 services being delivered by other partners, but in order to establish the real costs of delivering a children’s centre, then these need to be included, even though the resourcing may not be from the general Sure Start grant. Childcare sufficiency and sustainability This issue was raised by many local authorities as an issue and area of concern; both for those children’s centres directly delivering childcare or by those providing the core offer requirement through a third party. All local authorities recognised this as significant in meeting the outcomes duty by April 2008. A good deal of support has already been developed and can be found at A number of national organisations have also produced guidance and support for example: The DTI have produced “supporting childcare makes good "Supporting business sense”, and is a guide for employers. Childcare DTI.pdf" The NDNA has produced planning summaries for Sure Start. "Network Guidance.pdf" References can be seen in section 5. • Linking resources to outcomes and outputs A number of authorities have started to develop this through a "Harrow Service Plan single plan approach. The Harrow Service Plan incorporates 2006-2009 May 07.doc" the children’s centre delivery through a wider service plan. Consultation with colleagues in local authorities has identified this aspect of financial forecasting, monitoring and management as the biggest challenge in moving from a “grant culture” to business resourcing models based on actual service costs. A number of organisations and local authorities are considering a full cost recovery approach to children’s centre service delivery and this will be developed further in version 2 of the toolkit, planned for Autumn 2007. © Together for Children 2007 Page 17 of 20 Version 1 July 2007
    • Ten Top Tips for Children’s Centre Business Planning Together for Children have consulted with a number of local authority finance officers and business support officers, in asking what they felt were the best ways to ensure effective business planning for children’s centres, in improving outcomes for children and families. They recommend the following top tips: 1. Plan for sustainability and reshaping of services from the start. 2. Develop a service or business and delivery plan from stage 1 to stage 4 of children’s centre development. Aim to review every quarter and refresh annually to reflect policy changes and the impact of delivery. 3. Research and identify potential sources of additional funding to meet shared targets such as regeneration, adult and further education at all stages of development and delivery. 4. Work with employers and employer organisations to promote childcare as a mutually beneficial shared agenda. Encourage employers to advocate and support children’s centres to their employees and the wider business community. 5. Focus on delivering high quality services for value for money; ensure every member of staff knows what they cost and what they contribute and add value to. 6. Stress the importance of continuous improvement, reflective practice, evaluation and reward for meeting outcomes and outputs. 7. Consider what is already out there and work together with partner organisations to maximise impact and minimise risk. 8. Ensure that consultation with potential and actual users does take place and that delivery reflects what parents and children really want! 9. Ensure there are effective business support services in place that are appropriately recognised and valued. 10. Children’s centres are here to stay… they are not short term projects, commit and plan accordingly! What else can help? Please send your contributions to © Together for Children 2007 Page 18 of 20 Version 1 July 2007
    • 4. Reviewing and Measuring the Impact The Together for Children sample survey established that most local authorities believe that the resourcing of services should be linked to performance outcomes and outputs. This recommendation is also supported by the children’s centre SEF Key messages from local authorities: • Ensure that all staff know why activities are being resourced and what the expected outcomes and outputs are right from the start? • Hold a development day to establish what performance can be measured against what activities; try to involve the advisory board members • Identify a monitoring champion in each centre and/or locality who will send returns on a weekly/monthly basis to a central monitoring officer • Ensure that monitoring reports are considered centrally and feedback is given to centres on at least a quarterly basis • Set achievable targets, and identify areas for incentives or bonuses if targets exceeded… make target setting and achieving fun! • Involve your customers in setting and meeting targets, as long as they know why! • Ensure that all staff can contribute to the service targets and that this is identified through personal or individual development plans and assessed through appraisal processes. Many of the sample delivery plans (section 3) have also incorporated actions against outcomes and outputs, and some have attempted to measure progress and impact over a three or five year period. Examples: Northumberland County Council action plan This draft action plan aims to show progress across years in "Northumberland achieving the ECM outcomes and national and local targets. County Council Action Plan.doc" Devon County Council service plan This demonstrates their approach to “plan, do and review”. "CC Plan 2007 2008 -.doc" Harrow children’s centre phase 1 and 2 action plan: This shows how an individual Centre can meet the Every Child "Harrow Action Matters outcomes, and how this will be measured. Plan.doc" Together for Children recommend that this stage needs to be considered alongside planning for performance monitoring and management guidance and the performance monitoring toolkit planned for September 2007. © Together for Children 2007 Page 19 of 20 Version 1 July 2007
    • © Together for Children 2007 Page 20 of 20 Version 1 July 2007