A service plan is required to be completed and approved prior to embarking on a capital works project. It is critical to resolve policy issues prior to commencing the capital development process for the capital project.
The process of service planning defines the core services to be delivered to the community, in conjunction with the necessary ancillary or support services, also required within a prescribed timeframe. The following describes a comprehensive approach to the data collection and analysis used to support capital investment proposals. While the research and time required to complete each step will vary substantially with the project size, each step is required to be undertaken for all projects. A range of services will need to be considered when planning a specialised facility complex such as a training centre, forensic facility or a new acute-care hospital.
The service planning process should be undertaken under the direction of the health service / agency and Department of Health personnel (regional and head office program / division). The services plan should clearly identify existing service needs as well as new, reconfigured or replacement services. The resultant services plan will need to be signed off prior to the commencement of the capital planning project proposals.
The service plan must address the following objectives:
- Identification of assessed community or state needs for the designated services, service gaps and / or surpluses, for a period of five to ten years into the future.
- Improved quality of designated services for clients.
- A reorientation of services from previous services focus in accordance with the first objective.
- The provision of an appropriate level and mix of services to meet assessed community needs in a cost effective and coordinated manner.
- Accessibility and the provision of services to meet the catchment needs.
- The delivery of the services is from a facility safe and fit for purpose.
The service plan needs to express the above objectives in context of the local situation in consultation with service providers (both public and private), community members and departmental representatives. It is vital that in setting objectives for the relevant organisations, they can be evaluated and measured in terms of achieving projected changes in services to clients, service structure and profile.
Policy / background
Relevant government policy regarding the service delivery must be stated and referenced to:
- ministerial statements
- acts and legislations
- strategic directions
- program policy statements
- regional and corporate plans.
Where there are conflicting views or interpretation of policy, the matter is to be clarified and clear documentation provided to support the project decisions.