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Chapter 2 - Determining the Work of the CJCC

Strategic Planning

Developing a strategic plan for the CJCC will establish a road map for determining and guiding the work of the CJCC. Strategic planning is a continuous analytic process used to (1) focus on the activities and resources needed to achieve specific results, and (2) develop a shared responsibility for achieving those results. The process is a systematic way for an organization or system to express its vision, describe its values, state or update its mission, identify strengths and weaknesses, and develop and accomplish short- and long-term goals.

While there are many strategic planning models, no single model or process is the perfect fit for every situation. Effective strategic planning processes are designed to address the following questions:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to be?
  • What specific policies, practices, programs, or other activities will be implemented to get us there?
  • Are we following our designated road map and achieving our expected results?

One of the core features of an effective strategic planning process is its ongoing and cyclical nature. A sound strategic plan is dynamic rather than static; it incorporates ongoing learning and continuous quality improvement. For example, sustainable strategic planning requires (1) monitoring progress in achieving expected results, (2) assessing problems, needs, internal and external conditions, and (3) ensuring effective solutions on a routine and ongoing basis. Knowledge of implementation progress and problems, and new or emerging conditions, informs the planning process and maximizes effectiveness.

9 Steps of Strategic Planning (Source: National Criminal Justice Association SAA Training and Technical Assistance)

  1. Identify the problem(s)
  2. Solicit input from system stakeholders
  3. Use data to drive decision making
  4. Conduct a SWOT analysis
  5. Determine resources and budgeting plans
  6. Define SMART goals
  7. Set action steps
  8. Define outcome measures
  9. Review and adapt plans

An effective strategic planning process uses data and analysis in several important ways. Research, statistical analysis, and other background materials help define the current environment from an objective standpoint and helps you understand and prioritize problems and needs (e.g.., crime problems, system inefficiencies, gaps in services, targets for reforms). An in-depth understanding of problems and needs is essential if cost-effective solutions are to be identified and implemented. Data also are important for monitoring progress in implementing the plan and to document how well the plan mitigates identified problems and needs. Monitoring implementation in a systematic, data-driven fashion is critical, as deviations from the plan are likely to occur, and identifying problems before they become intractable is the key to ensuring that corrective action can be taken. Conducting outcome evaluations to determine the effects of constituent programs and the overall results of the plan is equally important. An effective strategic planning process is data driven, and a strategic plan should always be subject to revision when new information makes doing so appropriate.

Strategic Planning Process

strategic planning process