Is Your Council Ready?
The campaigning is over and the results of the 2018 Ontario municipal elections have been tabulated. In December, new Councils throughout the province have embarked on a new four-year journey by taking the oath of office. Whether you are a Head of Council, member of Council or a municipal manager, you have likely been turning your mind to the business ahead. Many of you already have ambitious plans, priorities or ideas about where your municipality should focus its attention and resources. Before you know it, regardless of what side of the Council table you sit on, you will be inundated with new issues, changing legislation and shifting priorities. Suddenly the seriousness of it all can be overwhelming, whether you are a seasoned politician, newly elected or a veteran administrator.
Setting priorities and aligning resources to deliver them is essential. Do you know what your municipality’s priorities are? Is Council aligned on its priorities? Does your management team know what is expected of them in the coming months and years? Does your municipality have a budget and long-range capital forecast that aligns with these priorities? To respond effectively to these questions, you need a plan. Not any plan, but a professionally facilitated Strategic Plan with clear and agreed upon goals, objectives and key priorities.
A professionally facilitated and documented Strategic Plan is a powerful tool which will help establish a common vision, goals, and objectives within your community, municipal staff and Council. This will position you to collaborate as a team to meet those objectives and deliver them effectively with fiscal responsibility. A Strategic Plan will inform all your decisions about the allocation of human, physical and financial resources. It will provide clarity to Council and municipal staff about what the municipality will do, and equally about what it may choose not to do.
However, it is not enough that you go through a Strategic Planning exercise. You must follow it daily, allowing it to guide your decision-making processes. It must be checked regularly to ensure it is an effective plan and, if required, adapted to meet new or emerging challenges or pressures. An annual report card is an essential part of the ongoing strategic planning process.
Ideally, a municipal strategic planning process should be executed as early into a new term of Council as possible, to leverage the clarity that it will offer. Consulting the community and staff before Council decides on the final content of a strategic plan is a vital step in securing a successful plan.
Municipal Government Wayfinders’ experienced team of professionals have created an Adaptive Strategic Planning Process for local government. We assist municipalities in the development of customized Strategic Plans specifically designed to respond to each community’s unique environment and needs.