Best Value and Better Performance in Libraries

B: Putting the model into actions

B12: Implement and monitor

Our model is offered as a framework for strategic and service level planning. If it works, it will help you formulate a clear view of what you want to achieve, and support your exploration of the processes that should help you get there. Using the model then leads you into collecting the data that will tell you how you are currently performing in each key area. With all this information you should be ready to plan effectively. It is worthwhile emphasising that writing the public library/SLS plan comes at the end of the process. Further points:

  • There is a difference between maintenance and development. Most development plans present managers with a mass of activities and targets all labelled 'development'. This makes 'real' development very difficult; you can end up engaged in lots of activity but with little sense of getting anywhere. You will need to make choices about which areas of work should be maintained (linked to a set of maintenance targets or standards) and in which areas the service should try to move forward. The baseline data that you have collected to illuminate your current impact and performance, will help in this work.
  • We have found that this distinction can be empowering in itself, giving a renewed sense of purpose. The separation of maintenance from development enables managers to identify how much resource will be 'used up' in maintaining essential services and infrastructure, and how much spare capacity will then be available to support development activities.
  • You will have to prioritise. Inevitably you will not be able to do all that you want to do immediately. You will need to decide on criteria for prioritising (for example, focusing on where the library is supporting corporate priorities, or government initiatives, or deciding to tackle areas of 'worst' performance).
  • Development planning should lead directly to more detailed action planning. Many development plans are not implemented because they are left at too high a level (i.e. not nailed down to the practicalities of implementation). Once you have decided what key changes are necessary to ensure the development of the library and what your targets are, you will need to plan the tasks required to implement these changes. You should try to ensure that:
    • key tasks are defined and understood
    • necessary actions are listed
    • accountabilities for each action are defined and accepted
    • performance targets for each action are set
    • performance measures for each action are identified and documented
    • mechanisms are in place to review the achievement of targets and to feed the review into future planning activities
    • timescales for each activity are set.18

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18. KINNELL, M. et.al. Improving library and information services through self-assessment: a guide for senior managers and staff developers BLR+I Report 172 London: The Library Association 1999. 1856043363