An audit of corporate planning activities and processes (framework) was approved by FCAC's Audit Committee for inclusion in FCAC's 2008-09 Internal Audit Plan. Planning is an important management tool that:
FCAC Integrated Planning Cycle, Figure 1, outlines the key steps of Corporate Planning as presented in the Two-year Process and Timelines for the FCAC – Strategic Plan 2009-14. The document describes types of planning activities within the annual planning cycle which are described following the figure.
Strategic Priorities and Plan – This annual process, between April and August, involves Executive and staff in developing a five- year view of FCAC's priorities. Information from the Speech from the Throne and Government Budget priorities are factored into the priorities and plan. Based on the Strategic Priorities and Plan, unit Activity plans and a Business Plan document are prepared.
Activity Plans and FCAC Business Plan – These documents are designed to operationalize the Strategic Plan. Directors and staff in the business units assess and develop two year-Activity plans and assess the resources required to implement strategic priorities identified in the Strategic Plan. The information for the Business Plan is developed from the strategic and Activity plans. The Business Plan factors in resource requirements (funding and HR), deliverables, timing, accountability, and performance measurement. The Business Plan considers key factors and risks affecting future activities and resources, such as economic indicators, demographics, emerging issues, findings from surveys and studies, government priorities and political issues, SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats), and risk elements and mitigating actions.
Finalizing Plans – The Strategic Plan and Business Plan are sent to key stakeholders and partners for consultation. Senior management assesses the comments and finalizes the plans as appropriate.
Detailed Activity Plans – Based on the finalized Strategic Plan and Business Plan, detailed Activity plans are prepared. The detailed Activity plans assign responsibilities for activities to staff to achieve key outputs and deliverables by defined timelines. As such, the plans serve as the basis for developing division and individual goal commitment documents.
HR Plan/Staffing Plan – Following the development of a draft business plan that includes some indication of HR requirements, detailed HR and Staffing Plans are developed. This planning step provides an assurance there is either sufficient capacity at FCAC to implement the proposed activities in the Business Plan, or there is a plan to obtain appropriate capacity (knowledge, skills, experience, as well as a sufficient number of staff).
Performance Monitoring – In the Business Plan, key performance indicators (quantitative and qualitative) have been developed to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of program delivery. On an ongoing basis, measurement data is collected and reported to management. This serves as a basis for a mid-year and end of year assessment of performance, which may result in identified changes to plans.
Through all plan documents, including Activity plans, Director and staff responsibilities for achieving goals are identified and assessed.
As part of the end of year review, opportunities for enhancing FCAC's planning process are identified. FCAC seeks ways of optimizing its planning process. To improve its planning process, FCAC utilizes tools such as staff surveys containing questions on direction, the planning process and communication of the process and outcomes. Notable changes that have occurred recently in the planning process are: