Operational planning

Operational planning is an integral part of border health protection and follows a cycle of logical steps designed to ensure an effective response.

Key steps in the operational planning cycle

  1. Understand the current situation:
    • What is happening now?
    • Get information from multiple sources and analyse it.
  2. Identify and define the problem:
    • What is wrong?
    • Look for the cause of the problem, not the symptoms.
  3. Define your aim:
    • What is the desired outcome? What do you want to happen?
    • Define your aim clearly.
  4. Develop a concept for a response:
    • What do you propose to do to respond?
    • The concept will need to include:
      • An aim
      • Tasks
      • Resourcing allocation
      • Command, control and communication arrangements.
  5. Engage stakeholders with the response to test it:
    • Test and prove your concept with key stakeholders
    • Incorporate their feedback
    • Build and maintain relationships.
  6. Translate the concept into a written plan.
  7. Implement the plan:
    • Execute the plan
    • Brief all stakeholders
    • Ensure necessary training
    • Rehearse the plan
    • Conduct exercises.
  8. Ensure ongoing management and review:
    • The plan is a living document that needs to be reviewed:
      • Has the situation changed?
      • What changes must be made as a result?

Further guidance to assist those charged with developing operational plans for a response to public health emergencies (eg, disease outbreaks) is provided in the Guidance on Operations Planning (Word, 297 KB).

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