Strategic Plan & Managing for Results Fact Sheet

What is strategic planning?
A strategic plan helps an organization to focus its energy, to ensure employees are working towards the same goals and enables an organization to effectively manage its resources.  A strategic plan ensures a consistent focus for decision-making and performance (of individuals and departments).
Why is strategic planning important?
Strategic planning offers the opportunity to:
  • Review and realign the focus and direction of an organization;
  • Identify how resources should be allocated;
  • Provide a road map for achieving that direction.
  • It also provides the opportunity to engage and energize all members of the organization. For Chester County, this relates to the Commissioners, department heads, all employees, and Chester County citizens.
Why did the County go through a strategic planning process?
Chester County has undergone major growth and rapid change over the last decade. This growth led to a decision by the Commissioners to review the government's priorities for the future. It also contributes to the Commissioners' goals to increase accountability, transparency, and performance in Chester County government.
What is Managing for Results (MFR)?
Managing for Results is a comprehensive and integrated management system that focuses on achieving results for the customer which makes it possible for departments to demonstrate accountability to the taxpayers.
Why did the Commissioners spend money developing something like this?
Chester County had grown and changed rapidly over the prior ten years. The Board of Commissioners decided that a new set of priorities and goals should be established through a strategic plan that would meet the needs of citizens today and for the future.

Chester County’s strategic plan makes clear what the County does, how well it does it, what it costs, and the value Chester County citizens receive. It helps the Commissioners, and all County departments, to prioritize their efforts, maximizing the services provided, at the most efficient cost.

What was the initial strategic planning process timeline?
From start to finish, the initial strategic planning process took two years.
  • In March 2008, the Commissioners committed to developing a strategic plan.
  • In October, 2008, Weidner, Inc. was appointed to help pull the plan together.    
  • In December 2008, six priority areas were established by the Commissioners that would guide all County departments in determining their own strategy and goals.     
  • In January 2009, County departments began meeting to determine their individual strategy and goals.  
  • In February 2009, the results of the “quality of life” survey of County citizens were published and used as part of the basis for establishing overall County goals. 
  • In April 2009, the County Commissioners published a list of overall goals.    
  • By August 2010, all participating County departments had met and developed their individual strategy and performance goals.    
  • By December 2010, all participating County departments began to implement individual strategic business plans.
  • In February 2011, all participating County departments began entering results data into the Managing for Results system.
What kind of results are we going to see from the strategic planning initiative?  What’s the benefit to citizens?
Managing for Results is the underlying message of Chester County’s strategic plan. That means that department business plans are written – and subsequently implemented – to achieve measurable results.
As a result of the strategic planning effort and use of Managing for Results, the County is able to offer more accountability and address three critical issues:
  • What we are doing today contributes to our strategic direction;
  • We know what we have done has been effective;
  • We know how much it costs to deliver our programs and services effectively and efficiently.

What are the overall goals?
The goals adopted by the County Commissioners are currently divided into seven priority areas.
How did the commissioners come up with these goals?
The current goals adopted by the Commissioners were developed based on responses from the two county-wide citizen surveys conducted in 2009 and 2013, consultation with County department heads, key staff, and subject matter experts, and suggestions offered by over 150 community leaders who participated in facilitated discussion groups held throughout 2013.
Some of the goals are out of the hands of the Commissioners.  How can the Commissioners be sure they’ll achieve them?
Some goals will be met with direct input from County departments, while others will be met through indirect initiatives by the County. 
For instance, one of the goals is that by 2019, 30 percent of the acreage in Chester County will be preserved for open space, consistent with the goals of the county’s Landscapes 2 planning guide. To attain that goal, the Department of Open Space Preservation will work to distribute the funds the County has budgeted for open space preservation. Chester County’s Planning Commission staff will work with individual municipalities to help them achieve open space efforts.
Another one of the Commissioners’ goals – that of keeping the crime rate low – will be achieved through indirect initiatives. In this instance, the County provides support, training, and forensic services to our local law enforcement partners.