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Planning and resource management

Middle managers in social services are responsible for using resources effectively to achieve best possible outcomes. They plan for future needs, demands and changing expectations. They monitor and oversee current activity, intervening as necessary in response to changing factors in the internal or external environments.

Middle managers therefore need to be able to:

  • understand and operate competently within the financial and business context of social services
  • manage financial and other resources in accordance with best value principles, giving due attention to quality and sustainability as well as cost
  • ensure that appropriate systems, structures and procedures are in place so that resources within their service area are managed effectively
  • develop and support systems for devolved decision making within teams and services
  • intervene and take decisive action when resources are not being used efficiently or effectively
  • plan operations and manage resources to meet current and future demands and changing expectations, both from within the organisation and at a wider policy level
  • develop, implement and review business plans, team and service plans to reflect organisational strategies and plans
  • understand and work with principles of good practice in social service contracting and procurement, whether in the role of purchaser or provider.

If you can demonstrate what you have learned from this area of the framework and how you have put your learning into practice, you will be able to earn an Open Badge. Find out more here.

Planning and resource management resources

  • Understanding the External Environment The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) publish data on the social services sector in Scotland. These publications provide a unique, free to use, online resource. The website includes workforce information and intelligence publications as well as workforce data releases going back five years. Social Services Workforce Data.The Scottish Government also publishes statistics on a range of topics, including population and migration, children and young people, crime and justice and social welfare.

    Data reports include:
  • Best Value: The Scottish Government describes Best Value as balancing quality and cost considerations in improving the performance of public service organisations. The duty of Best Value is to make arrangements to secure continuous improvement in performance (while maintaining an appropriate balance between quality and cost) and in doing so to have regard to economy, efficiency, effectiveness, equal opportunities requirements and to the achievement of sustainable development. Best Value places the emphasis on the customer, not just the bottom line.
  • Audit Scotland publishes a number of reports on auditing Best Value across public services in Scotland. A short explanatory report, published in 2009 can be found in this resource.
  • The Best Value Toolkits is a series of eighteen diagnostic reports aimed at helping public bodies to assess how well they are designed to achieve, Best Value. The Toolkits can be found in this resource. They cover such topics as Asset Management, Community Engagement, Financial Management Performance Management, Planning and Resource Alignment, Vision and Strategic Direction, Risk Management, Procurement, Partnership Working and Community Leadership, Sustainability and Equalities.
  • Procurement: The Scottish Government website dedicates several pages to issues of procurement, both generally across public services but also with specific reference to Social Care.
  • Audit Scotland Audit Scotland publishes information on procurement by Councils, it can be found here. It also published a PDF document in 2012 on Commissioning Social Care.
  • Shaping the market for personalisation (2011) This resource provides a diagnostic and action planning tool for commissioners and others with a stake in shaping local markets to understand and assess their progress in delivering personalisation in adult social care.
  • Joint Strategic Commissioning Learning Development Framework: Published by the Joint Improvement Team in 2012, this document is intended to ensure that those involved in joint commissioning in local Partnerships have the skills and experience necessary to undertake their jobs effectively.
  • Organisations and Management Accounting: This OpenLearn unit from the Open University discusses management accounting as a way to help plan, evaluate and control activities in order to achieve the organisation’s objectives. It differentiates between management accounting and financial accounting which reports on past performance.

Examples from Practice

What Others Say

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Gloria McLoughlin - Scottish Care

"I think we are going to have to work together, going forward in the current climate. It’s going to have to be about collaboration. And it’s going to be about setting old suspicions aside and working together going forward."

University of Stirling et al. (2010) Leading Together, Dundee, SSSC

Leadership Capability Indicators
Continuous Learning Framework (CLF)
Standards for Childhood Practice
learning log
Additional SSKS Resources

You May Be Interested In

  • Projects and project management: The Open University provides several study units linked to project management. The first is focussed on project management and on the key players, feasibility studies, decision-making and the project life cycle.
  • Planning a project: The second OU study unit deals with project management and on a range of techniques, linked to the situations in which they can be used.
  • Implementing the Project: The third OU study unit focuses on the monitoring and control of projects.
  • Completing the Project: The final OU study unit focuses on bringing a project to a close and evaluating whether its aims and objectives have been achieved.
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