The Department for Plans


A new department for long-term plans forms a key part of government proposals to make British planning the envy of the world.

In Plans: a Long-Term Call to Consider Action, the government sets out its proposals to deal with “the unprecedented rise in demand for new plans” in the public sector.  The Department for Integrated Planning, Strategy and Ambition would oversee mass production of plans and overarching strategies.

The government blames soaring demand for new plans on NHS staff, patients and the public, citing surveys that show that many people believe that a lack of plans is the main cause of declining public services, and that most would be prepared to see another 2p on the basic rate of income tax to fund more strategic planning.

In a statement, the government said: “As demand has soared, essential services are at breaking point. People are having to wait for up to two weeks to see a plan or find that potentially life-changing documents are postponed at the last minute.”

NHS organisations complain that they are unable to cope with current plans, let alone meet the growing demand for new ones. 

NHS Improvement is preparing guidance on the optimum number of workstreams, domains, goals and deliverables that all credible health and social care plans should contain. The guidance would not be prescriptive, NHS Improvement said, but would include some “light-touch mandatory recommendations” such as that all plans should have a footprint of between 30,000 and 50,000 words.

The government says it remains committed to shift planning out of hospital and into community settings and to prevent the avoidable premature death of long-term plans with complex conditions from disappointment or lack of interest. It hopes that ten year timescales will significantly increase the active life of the next generation of plans. 

Patients and the public would be more involved in the production of future plans and the government promised even more robust evaluation processes to ensure that organisations mark their own homework as rigorously as possible.

“We want people to stop whatever they’re doing and focus on what really matters. Long term planning should be everyone’s business,” said the spokesperson.

Editor: Julian Patterson


Reproduced at by kind permission of Julian Patterson.