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Choosing strategic priorities or objectives

Taking an evidence-led approach to setting strategic priorities and objectives helps to ensure that you are placing the focus on the right things to best meet the needs of your population with the resources you have available.

Priorities should be informed by evidence of need and offer meaningful ways to make an impact.

Objectives should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound).

Some questions to ask yourself include:

  • Which issues are getting better or worse?
  • Which issues are having the greatest impact on the population we’re aiming to help?
  • Does the situation look different at different geographical levels, e.g. county vs. district?
  • Is there good evidence and guidance to tell us what’s effective at addressing these issues?
  • Are there practical and realistic opportunities to make a difference in the timescale we’re working to? Do we have the resources and stakeholder buy-in that will be needed to deliver change?
  • How will we know if we are making a difference to these issues? Can we measure progress effectively?

If you already have an overarching focus (e.g. substance misuse, air quality), one of the best places to begin finding answers to these questions is Hertfordshire’s Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA). There you can find themed reports describing the health and social care needs of our population, with recommendations on how to address them, which draw on a range of reliable research evidence and statistics. 

If the topic you are working on isn’t currently covered by any of the JSNA documents, or if you don’t have a specific overarching area of focus, you may wish to begin by using some of our other tools and resources to look for data about Hertfordshire’s population or health and social care services. We also have information on evaluating impact and planning services and interventions that might be helpful to you.

Depending on your needs, timescale and our capacity, we may be able to deliver a bespoke workshop to help you use relevant data to choose strategic priorities and set objectives. Get in touch to find out more.

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