Certain plans include a detailed implementation framework that outlines accountabilities and timelines for achieving the proposed outcomes. This will be an important consideration as you develop your plan. Will you give direction regarding governance matters, for instance? How will progress be reviewed and communicated? The following chart provides a template as you develop an implementation framework for your plan.
Table 34: Developing an Implementation Framework
You may also want to consider other items that we have already touched on, though depending on your local capacity that may need to be left to the implementation phase.
Table 35: Planning vs. Implementation
Build a process for reviewing and updating the plan and reporting on progress. A strategic review and business planning process is useful to apply in the case of the youth plan in order to:
- Document learning over the past year to ensure implementation of the plan as a living document,
- Use data from research, program and housing data, environmental scanning and implementation learning,
- Seek input and feedback from key stakeholders, including mainstream partners,
- Propose focus areas to shape business planning in the coming fiscal year,
- Consider implications on priority areas of action and investment moving forward,
- Discuss system-level priorities moving forward, such as information management system implementation, shelter closures, adding capacity, etc.,
- Identify policy-level changes required to further priorities, address emerging gaps and progress, and
- Consider any risks associated with meeting priorities (i.e. inability to reach goals/targets due to factors such as increasing rental prices, etc.) and provide risk mitigation strategies.
Figure 7. 8 Plan Review Cycle
This review cycle can be undertaken on an annual or even three-year basis to ensure that implementation of the plan is consistently reviewed and adjustments to implementation are made. Ultimately, it is the linking of the seemingly mundane activities of plan implementation to broader systems thinking that is one of the hallmarks of a systems approach to ending homelessness.
For communities considering implementation options in further detail, A Way Home has developed a draft evaluation framework to be used in exploring implementation learning from communities with youth plans already underway. The Evaluation Framework (developed by Oriole Research & Design) offers useful questions that communities can use to reflect as they prepare and engage in plan implementation.
What are the critical factors and variables in the environment that need to be tracked so that the implementation plan can adapt to emergent conditions?
- What cultural, social, economic and political factors in each community influence the implementation of the youth homelessness plan?
- Which factors will likely hinder implementation efforts?
- Which factors may enhance or boost implementation efforts?
What process is each community following in their implementation phase?
- To what extent have key stakeholders and partners embraced a common vision for the plan’s implementation?
- Has the community established an effective and adequately resourced backbone infrastructure to guide the implementation phase?
- Is a responsive governance structure in place, with an advisory capacity and action groups?
- What processes and mechanisms are in place to ensure continuous and open communication about the implementation efforts and to inspire stakeholders?
- What evidence is there of partners aligning their own activities with elements of the implementation plan and seeking increased inter-agency coordination?
- How do the implementation processes and activities foster a learning culture, including opportunities for experimenting, reflecting and discussion?
What has been learned during the implementation of this initiative that might inform similar efforts elsewhere?
- What has worked well/not so well in the steps toward implementation taken to date?
- What ‘quick wins’ have you had?
- What else is needed to support implementation?
How are the communities evaluating and tracking their own implementation process?
- What evidence is there of a process and resources for local monitoring and evaluation to support the implementation process?
- In what ways are partners assisting in the development of a shared measurement system?
- What evidence is there of outcomes in the early to middle stages of implementation?
How can A Way Home better support communities during the implementation phase?
- What needs exist in your community that can potentially be addressed by building capacity through A Way Home and provincial partners?
How do we share these findings out more broadly, so others can learn from the experience?
- What opportunities exist to share the experience of communities who are implementing plans to address youth homelessness more broadly?
- What are the best ways to share the learning, products, challenges and successes of these initiatives?
At regular intervals in implementation (six, 12, 18 months, etc.) you may consider your assessment of the following in relation to the plan:
- Community endorsement of plan and agenda for change: Does there continue to be widespread or growing endorsement? A continued sense of urgency? Other comments?
- Communication systems: What systems are working well to facilitate communication among stakeholders? How are you keeping key stakeholders engaged?
- Infrastructure to support implementation of the plan: What human, financial and other resources are in place to support implementation at this stage? How have the support needs in terms of infrastructure changed since you began working on implementation?
- Evidence of partners coordinating activities to align with the community plan: What evidence have you seen in terms of reduced duplication of efforts? What evidence is there of more streamlined approaches to meeting the needs of at-risk or homeless youth? What evidence is there of outcomes in the early to middle stages of implementation?
- Plans for a process to design and manage a shared measurement system: What progress has been made toward a shared measurement system?
- Local activity to promote continuous learning: Is there evidence of a learning focus at the local level? Systematic approach to monitoring and evaluation at the local level? Do stakeholders trust the quality of the data that is already available?
Strategies to effectively Implement a youth plan, including how to identify opportunities and navigate challenges, will be explored further in A Way Home’s forthcoming technical assistance materials.