South Western Federation of Museums and Art Galleries

Effective Forward Planning

Accredited musuems must have a current forward plan (sometimes known as a business plan, an operational plan, a development plan). A plan enables you to identify and share a vision for your museum and the steps towards achieving it with your workforce and community.

What does it mean?

  • Know your resources and context
  • Analyse risks
  • Consult and share
  • Set smart objectives
  • Allocate resources
  • Evaluate

Assessor’s questions

  • Is the statement of purpose consistent with the governing document?
  • Does the review demonstrate that the museum is aware of what has worked or not worked and what has been achieved in the previous year and plan?
  • Is there explanation for any un-met aims and objectives of the previous plan?
  • Has the museum undertaken a risk analysis of its operating environment?
  • Is there evidence of effective and appropriate consultation? Is consultation built in to the planning cycles? Are all elements present in appropriate detail?
  • Have SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely) principles been applied to the objectives?
  • Is there a clear link between aims, objectives and resources? Are aims and objectives given the resources outlined?
  • Is the resource plan sufficiently detailed? Is the museum overly dependent on one source of funding? Is there a realistic income diversification strategy or plan? Has the museum considered the risk of the funding being reduced or withdrawn?
  • Is there an appropriate review mechanism in place? Are review periods/cycles built in?
  • Is the length and scope appropriate for the size and plans of the organisation?
  • Does the forward plan cover the current and subsequent years (led by the museums own financial and planning cycles)?
  • Does the plan indicate a confident, outward facing organisation, or an inward-looking one?
  • Does the plan link effectively to associated strategies, plans and policies?
  • Does the forward plan comply with the constitution and statement of purpose?
  • Is approval appropriate?
  • QIS How well does the forward plan set out a clear vision and identify objectives and actions and the expected impact these will have?
  • QIS How well does the organisation monitor its performance and use this information to improve services?
  • QIS How well does the museum or service involve the workforce, users and partners in the planning and development of the museum?