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Goals are general aims of the working plan, and need to be written down. They are broad statements of what stakeholders want to achieve from the plan. Examples include: ‘Minimise livestock predation by wild dogs’, ‘Maintain a population of dingoes in a particular area’ or ‘Prevent spread of disease by wild dogs’.
For each goal identified by stakeholders, a means of measuring it must also be determined. These measurements will allow the progress of the management actions to be monitored and assessed.
Unlike objectives (see below), goals do not have specific time limits attached to them. Monitoring goals is usually about numbers, such as:
For goals related to livestock losses, lambing or calving percentages and numbers of animals that have been injured or killed might be the most appropriate measures. Similar measures can be recorded if a goal is to minimise predation of a native animal. Regardless of the animal type, it is important to try to collect this information from places not participating in control programs too, in order to make comparisons.
Setting measurable objectives
Objectives are more specific than goals and have a defined timeframe. Objectives can be long or short term, and both should be included in the plan. Setting objectives helps to refine the necessary management actions. Having clear objectives also directs what types of monitoring are needed to measure and evaluate progress.
If a stakeholder goal is to keep wild dogs out of a particular area, a related short-term objective may be to erect a dog-proof fence around that area by a certain date. An associated long-term objective might be to check the fence weekly for the next year. Another short-term objective to achieve the same goal could be to implement a trapping and baiting program to remove wild dogs living within the area by the end of the month, with an associated long-term objective of baiting within and around the area each season for the next year.
Importantly, each objective should relate to at least one goal, have a measurable number and a measureable timeframe. They must also be achievable. The key issue here is finding the balance between easy-to achieve objectives that will do little to reach the goal, and objectives that would easily achieve the goal but are impossibly difficult.
Remember, if records of actions are not kept, then progress towards achieving objectives and goals can’t be assessed for success.
Develop a plan of action
This step turns stakeholders’ definition of the problem and their ideas about measurable objectives and goals into a plan of action. The aim of this process is to achieve agreement on actions, including any reactive action that may be required.
The earlier steps addressed why stakeholders are going to take action. Now is the time to discuss and agree upon key issues of who, what, when and where, with regard to undertaking specific actions. Stakeholders must estimate how much time and money the actions are expected to cost.
Using agreed objectives as the guide, stakeholders should record the details of their proposed actions in a table and draw them on a map. Choosing the right person for the task is important for the plan’s success, so it should be considered carefully. He/she will need to agree to do it, and their family or their boss might also need to agree. A key principle here is to ask, not assume.
Consider the following questions as a guide for formulating an action plan:
What can be done?
Where is management to be done?
Who will organise the management?
When is management to be done?
Strategic (give timeframe, target dates or triggers)
Reactive (identify triggers)
What type of monitoring is to be done? (Identify who will keep records and how and when they will provide these to other stakeholders)
What actions are to be taken?
What plans involving neighbouring groups does this plan link in with?
Put the plan into action
During this stage the plan is implemented according to its timeframe. It is important that the plan be monitored throughout, using a variety of effective methods. These can include recording stock losses, recording sightings and signs of activity and keeping records of costs. Procedures for monitoring should have already been identified in Step 3.
Stakeholders should be clear about what will be monitored. While the preceding steps cover what type of monitoring is to be done, there should also be discussion about exactly what information must be collected, and why. Some issues to consider before monitoring begins include: