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Principle 3

Developing and monitoring organisational plans and budgets

Operational Plans and Budgets

An operational plan is a practical document which outlines the key activities and targets an organisation will undertake during a period of time, usually one year.  It is often linked to funding agreements as well as being linked overall to the organisation’s strategic plan.

An operational plan outlines the activities and targets which the organisation will carry out in order to work towards achieving the aims and objectives set out in the strategic plan.  It provides the framework for an organisation’s day-to-day operations.  An operational plan usually covers a one year period.  Your strategic plan should be supported by annual operational plans which ensure the strategic plan is effectively delivered.  These will often be developed by senior staff members (where there are paid staff) but must be approved by the management committee.  On the basis of reports against the SMART objectives in the operational plan, the management committee can then review progress towards meeting the strategic aims and objectives.

The organisation’s budget should also link closely to the operational plan.  There is no point in having a very ambitious operational plan in place without the resources to deliver it.  The organisation’s budget and cash flow should be closely managed throughout the year to make sure that income and expenditure are on track and that the organisation can meet its targets and its financial commitments.  For more on financial and management controls click here.