Section 2 - Planning

Part 1: Setting outcomes and indicators

2This section is about looking at what we want to achieve and how we will know we've been successful. The starting points for this section of the programme are the:
  • overall purpose of the community group (identiied in part 1 of section 2); and
  • results from the assesment process in section 2, which should have pinpointed the priority areas for developing the community group. 

Outcomes - What we want to achieve

These will be statements of what difference the community group want to make in connection with the identified priorities. Depending on the community group’s circumstances, it may want to identify outcomes that are short-term, medium-term or long-term.

Indicators - How we will know we have been successful, and how we will show this

Once outcomes have been defined it is useful and important to think about how they would be measured. In other words, how would the community group and the community know that change had taken place? This means establishing outcome indicators – signs to indicate any difference.

Evidence - How we will show we have achieved our outcomes

The community group also needs to consider how they can gather the evidence they need to show that the difference has been made. This might involve doing a bit of work at the beginning to establish a baseline which any change can be measured from.

      Outcomes                          Indicators                             Evidence 

Worked example: This worked example will help a group look at what they want to achieve, how they will know they have been successfull and how they will evidence their outcomes. You can also download a blank version of this worked example here.

Hints and tips:  A good way to go about planning is to think ahead to how people would like their community or their community group to be at some point in the future - perhaps two or three years ahead. What would it be like if nothing was done? What could it be like if something was done to tackle problems or issues?

It can be helpful to let people's ideas flow freely at first - in an ideal world, how would things be? Then it can be narrowed down to things that may be realistic, even if a little ambitious. At the end of these discussions it should be possible to establish some outcomes - in other words agreed and clearly expressed statements of how things should be in the future.

However, it is important to keep people focused on the overall purpose and the priorities identified at the assessment stage - so have these to hand, as handouts, on a flipchart or on slides.

Depending on the community group's preferred way of working, the outcomes, indicators and evidence sources can be written up in a table as shown on the next page or portrayed more visually (for example, mapping them on to wall charts or by using available computer software programmes). It is important that you use the methods that the community group is most comfortable with

Part 2: Methods and actions: what we will do and how we will do it

By this stage the community group is ready for action planning. This moves the community group from broad ideas or a vision to much more specific and detailed actions. The main prompt questions for this stage are as follows:

  • What methods will we use (for example, training, consultation, public information events)?
  • Who will take particular actions, and when?
  • How will the actions help us to achieve our agreed outcomes?
  • How will we record the actions and what kind of evidence can we produce to show success?

Worked example: This worked example provide a way for groups to track their outcomes, methods and activities and plan how they will be implemented. You can download a blank version of this worked example here.

Hints and tips:  At this stage it is often best to return to the outcomes identified in part 1 of section 2 and have
the group working on each outcome to agree how best it can be achieved. This can be done in small groups working on methods and actions relating to different outcomes, as long as there is a chance for everyone to contribute as the action plan is finalised. Once methods and actions are agreed, along with appropriate timescales, the whole group can work together to allocate tasks (either to individuals, subgroups or partners). The main aspect of this is that every action should have someone with overall responsibility for doing something about it.

Once this stage has been completed you could end up with something like the worked example on the following page. The table in the example does not link methods directly to particular outcomes as some methods contribute to achieving more than one outcome. It is up to the group how best to complete this particular part of the programme. It is important that a useful and usable recording system is established to help the group show how their actions have led to achieving their outcomes.

Next: Section 3 - Doing