1.1 Identify operational objectives within own area of responsibility. My area of responsibilities state in our operational plan is that:- It is my role to ensure that we have sufficient staff on daily basis in order to meet the relevant staff/child ratios. Any over staffing we have should be utilised in an appropriate manner, for example the other day we had some children not come in due to illness so I decided to take some paperwork and sit to one side and update it. I was still in the room should the staff need me. Organise staff meetings on a regular basis to discuss any issues we may have or ensure I meet with staff urgently should it be required. Report any issues to the committee or in our case currently the treasurer, Stuart Crinigan should there be something of concern to me or staff. Ensure that as a playgroup I am delivering the Foundation Phase at a high standard with staff having an input. Also covering all the necessary areas that are linked to the planning, such as “focused tasks”.
Ensure that I am offering a variety of learning experiences including locating resources if we haven’t got them. Ensure staff use welsh as much as possibly able to speak. Ensure all staff have read and signed the confidentiality policy and are bound by it. Also read and signed all other policies on induction day. Discuss any training needs that I feel is required or discuss any training that would like to attend. This will then in turn be passed on for the committee to discuss if it involves a fee to be paid. Undertake a quality of care review annually, by means of questionnaires sent out to staff/ parents/ children of the playgroup, any outside agencies involved. All the information gathered is then compiled into a review and a report made by myself and sent out to parents on our findings. The report is then also displayed on the playgroups notice board for people to view at any time. Ensure the daily routine is implemented and staff follow this.
The plan was to gain registration which did happen in November 2013. Undergo an inspection from Estyn, which also did happen in July 2014. This was our first inspection and it was my responsibility to have all paperwork complete, up to date and every aspect of the playgroup ready for the inspection. Ensure all accident/ incident reports fully completed when something happens and a copy given to the parent. Staff files are in order with all required documents that can be easily located at any time. Prepare snack a little earlier so that the children do not wait after going to wash their hands. Encourage staff to use the tooth brushing cd in order for this to be enthusiastic and not just a task the children have to complete. Ensure the insurance document is displayed in the playgroup which we had to request a copy in order for this to be done. (Committee is partly responsible for this to happen).
Ensure that staff keep a high standard of care towards the children and any untoward behaviour by staff should be dealt with immediately. Following our first inspection by Estyn the recommendations were to:- Provide opportunities for children to develop knowledge on other cultures. This has been discussed with our co-ordinator and a list of topics suggested which I have completed on the planning so the children have been able to gain knowledge on different cultures and places. I have also recommended that we should invest in multi-cultural books which can be displayed and read by the children at any time. This has been put to the committee and awaiting the outcome. (Finance). Locate and find more ICT equipment this has now been done after discussing it with the committee. (Finance is their department, I can only request these items).
Use the focused tasks, assessment plans to plan for the children’s next steps, rather than just completing them and moving on. This has been discussed with our co-ordinator and is now being competed. I have ensured that all staff are aware of how to complete this action plan and are implementing the children’s next steps using the planning from the week before. All these above are areas that I feel are my own objectives, although however I have to be able to relay this information onto staff ensuring that they are carrying out their duties to the highest standards. If I’m not completing my own objectives then staff cannot do their job effectively.
1.2 Analyse objectives of own area of responsibility in relation to those of own organisation. The main objectives will be:-
Recruitment of children, if the playgroup is not advertised properly us as a playgroup will not get children in or if it is not being run properly this will also affect recruitment. Ensure that the playgroup has sufficient staff, especially with the relevant qualifications required. Health and safety of the children is so important and should not be put at risk at any time. Any area out of my control that I cannot actually sort myself is reported immediately to be dealt with. Development of the Foundation Phase. I myself work closely with our co-ordinator in order to deliver the requirements of the Foundation Phase. This is important overall to move the playgroup forward, especially after having our first inspection. Setting new initiatives in order for the development of the playgroup, in the operational plan it states 4 objectives to be met in 2013/2014. I have met 3 of these objectives as 1 of them is out of my control and is a committee objective. I can set new objectives myself that are to be met in the future for 2014/2015. My role of responsibility will to ensure that as a playgroup:-
Offering a good service to the users and that it is being delivered to a high standard. Staff are aware of their responsibilities/doing their job effectively and are enrolled on any courses that are relevant to move playgroup forward. The Foundation Phase is being delivered appropriately and all areas being covered working closely with our co-ordinator. Care standards of all children being met to high standards and any child needing support it is dealt with appropriately, providing fairness for all children attending. (please also refer to 1.1)
As we are a small playgroup and I am the manager, every area will fall to me except in the area of finance. If I do not update policies and procedures accordingly to the changes required it can become an issue especially with care standards and Estyn. It is in the best interest of protecting the children that this should be done and policies reviewed as and when required. The recruitment of children is area that staff can have some input on with regards to advertising, ideas on how it can be done. It is in the best interests of all staff to have an input as without recruiting children there would be no playgroup therefore no jobs for staff. Although if I am not proving a service to a high standard or doing my job properly, for example failing to deliver the Foundation Phase appropriately or not meeting/exceeding care standards recommendations then nobody will want to register with the playgroup therefore no children will mean no jobs for staff.
Employment of staff, if we take on a certain amount of children then more staff will be required in order to meet ratios. This will be discussed with the committee who will then advertise for staff, however which staff member is to be employed will my judgement as I am the person will be working with them. The committee and our co-ordinator will have an input but sole responsibility will down to me. Example – After our last staff member handed in her notice in October, the committee advertised for staff at a level 2 + which they deemed appropriate. I therefore argued my point that they need a level 3 in order for the playgroup to move forward being positive. It would mean any staff member taken on at a level 2, I would always without fail have to be at playgroup which in certain circumstances could not always happen (illness, family) etc.
This I didn’t feel was in the best interest of the playgroup and when staff applied for the job decided on Laura after her interview, she had experience and the level 3 qualification which I felt was a positive move forward. Since we have had our first Estyn inspection in July 2014, certain recommendations were put forward in order for us move in positive direction and for the benefit of the children. I have the responsibility for this to happen working closely with our co-ordinator, she will be writing out the report and sending to Estyn in the next couple of months. We have so far covered 3 of 4 recommendations and the fourth one is in process.
I have to speak with the committee to request more ICT equipment which has been done, so the other 3 recommendations will be my responsibility and it is my role to ensure staff are motivated on completing these other 3 with my guidance. If the report goes in and Estyn feel that we have met their recommendations then they will come back in to inspect and we will be put on monitoring. All staff are aware of this but responsibility will be mine if I fail to guide staff and fail to do my job effectively it in packs on the setting as a whole.
2.1 Assess risks associated with operational plans and include contingency arrangements. It is important to recognise the risks associated with business and what would you do the inevitable happen. There are many factors to consider and it is also important to have a contingency plan in place. Finances – This can involve a lot of outgoings at times, so it’s important to plan properly for this. List all the outgoings and where possible try to
do a forecast for the next few months. The list may feel endless sometimes but set a budget where possible to minimize outgoings. Wages, building overhead costs including rents, food/drink, insurances and training costs.
1. The way to keep track of costs will be to monitor your bank balance.
2. Monitor income and expenditure
3. Managing the budget to ensure you have a surplus at the end of the year.
4. Forecasting. (predicting what is going to happen)
5. Recording keeping.
Forecasting – try to predict what is going to happen in the next few months ahead using this to set a budget. It is useful to use a cash flow chart which will give a statement of each months expected income and expenditure, this way you can predict ant financial problems and plan for them. The cash flow chart can also be used to generate your annual budget. Record keeping – It is essential to keep all records up to date and it will help the setting submit the tax returns. Reviewing – Always ensure you review the finances regular and track any big differences with outgoings. If possible use an accountant they can advise and help keep settings finances in order. Contingence plan – There are ways in which you can prevent your business from falling into difficulty by having a “plan b” to fall back on. (Please refer to above for ideas). As well as the various ways mentioned above, being a charity run playgroup there are grants available where settings can claim lump some money. Each year the WPPA send an email around February for setting to claim a small grant, which in some cases could boost the finances.
Ensuring all 3 year old grants are claimed for and other claimed discount places in on time. Increase the fees in the setting hasn’t already done so, most settings do this yearly but ensure you don’t go too pricey. Do we require the amount of staff on the books, I look to the weekly rota and cut staff on the days in some children are not attending/ won’t be attending as the parent still has to pay regardless. Staffing – Depending on the size of your business this is an area where a “plan b” will need to be in place. We cannot plan for staff to be off ill or staff who decide to leave the setting unexpectedly. It is important to have the correct amount of staff with the correct qualifications, advertise originally for the kind of staff member you want. Having staff on standby such as having supply staff you can call when required to cover illness, 1:1 or staff going on training. I have previously used Stuart our treasurer he has a CRB in place for times of staff shortage. Some larger settings could have the use of agency staff, this is unlikely to happen but they are a “plan b” if required. Budgets – (Also refer to finance above).
After working all expenses out set a budget and stick to it. As always you should have surplus cash after working out all finance, but if this isn’t the case then you should have an alternative plan. When setting the budget be realistic with it as there is a lot to cover. Look into what you need and how often you have to buy it, always look for cheaper options where possible even when choosing resources. Does what you need have to be brand new? Could you buy a second hand one? Or even knowing somebody that can donate what you need. It is important to double check your figures before making the purchase, is there an alternative that is cheap. It is important to keep track off budgets by checking forecast charts etc. this will give an idea whether you can need to alter the budget, are you going over board and setting the budget too high if so then cut it back go back to basics until things improve. Re check finances again after a couple of months after cutting back the budget.
Building arrangements – When deciding on your business it will be important to get the correct advice whether to rent, buy or build premises. There is so much involved deciding on what kind of lease you require but always remember to have a limit/budget in mind that is going to suit the business. We rent our building from Conwy Council so in the event that something should happen to the building it would be down to the Council to deal with, any issues we do have are reported to them by myself. For example there was quite a bad leak in the corner of the room during some heavy rain.
This was reported immediately and dealt with within a couple of days. Some settings have a second premise that they could use should they need an alternative however that depends on numbers of children and whether it is suitable. It is very unlikely that you would need an alternative building, but having somewhere else to use would be a backup plan should you require it. There is a large church building further up the road that has been used previously for playgroup which would be used should we need to.
2.2 Identify support from relevant stakeholders.
Stakeholders have an interest in the business and can offer support when and where it is required. It is important to identify these people early and have a good relationship with them in order for the business to succeed. In our playgroup the relevant stakeholders would be:- Committee – They have a responsibility to provide support to the playgroup and ensure that is running to its full potential. They help with fund raising ideas in order for you gain resources and help with guidance should matters arise that need to be dealt with. Some companies require playgroups to have a committee in order to gain insurance, also CSSIW and Estyn also suggest it is important in order for the setting to run effectively. Parents – They have an interest in the setting as their child is attending and it’s their best interests to want the best possible care and education. It is also important to have a good relationship with parents, some parents offer donations to the setting by way of unused toys, clothes etc.
Treasurer – This is the person who take care of the finances and keep the setting on track. If any resources will be needed I will speak to him and he will order them or if it’s anything of size and expense the budget/finance will be checked before an agreement made. It is always important though to ensure another person checks the bank statements too ensuring nothing is untoward. CSSIW – They are very important to a setting checking on staff with their files ensuring all staff have the relevant checks in place to safeguard the children. Ensuring care standards are met at all times and also to the highest standard. When gaining registration care for a setting care standards put a person through very rigorous checks to ensure suitability. Foundation Phase co-ordinator – They have an interest in the setting as it is their job to provide assistance to ensure staff are delivering the Foundation Phase appropriately.
Estyn inspectors will check on settings and report their findings, poor results not only reflect on the setting staff but on the co-ordinators too. Buildings committee – They have a relevant interest in the playgroup as we are providing a service to local parents/children via a council owned building. They are paid a very good fee monthly from the setting as it is rented. It is their interest to fix an issues immediately as without playgroup using the building during the 5 mornings a week it would be empty. The councillor in charge of the building pops in from time to time so any problems is discussed then but it is good to have a positive relationship with them.
2.3 Implement operational plan within your own area of responsibility. (Also refer to 1.1)
The operational plan is also used to describe what my job role entails, being manager of the playgroup I will look to implement the operational plan by following my job role. Planning – Ensuring the Foundation Phase is being delivered appropriately, Covering all 7 areas of learning and offering a full array of resources. Welsh – Although we are an English speaking setting, welsh development is introduced. I will set an example to staff by trying as much as possible to speak welsh in the setting. Routine – Ensuring the routine is followed daily, any change in routine will be agreed by myself and will have an explanation as to why. Staff/child ratios – I will ensure that ratios are met, under no circumstance will we be under staffed as this will put children at risk. Confidentiality – Give staff the policies and procedures to read ensuring they have signed the confidentiality and whistle blowing policy.
Any policies that are up dated staff will be given immediately to read and sign. All staff are reminded of these policies regular given the opportunity to read them again should they wish to. All staff are made aware of where the policies are kept for future reference. Training – Encouraged staff to attend training sessions, I will myself attend them and this sets an example to other staff to attend. Any training that I feel staff need they will be advised to attend. Outside agencies – I will work with outside agencies when required to do so, this not only benefits the playgroup but also the children involved. All of the above makes up what my job role would involve daily so in order for me to be carrying out my job role effectively I have to be implementing the operational plan. This also involves me to –
Set objectives for staff and myself in order to be successful.
3.1 Monitor procedures within the operational plan.
3.2 Evaluate operational plans and implement any necessary actions.
It is important to check, review and evaluate the operational plan, make changes were needed. For example has your objectives changed, staff changes or new setting. When monitoring and evaluating the operational plan keeping records will be important as to establish progress within the setting. After setting the targets and clear aims such as structure and systems in place you want. It is then you will be able to review progress and evaluate how well it is working. When completing the review and evaluation be clear to ensure you have been consistent throughout the term, you have stuck to the plan and continuing to make progress. As mentioned previously, the operational plan make sup part of my job description, so if I’m failing to do my job correctly then I am also failing to implement the operational plan. This not only has an impact on the staff but also the children too and will have consequences when inspected by Estyn and care standards. In our operational plan we had set agreed targets to be met by July 2014 which were:
Gain the setting registration – This was met by myself in November 2013 and also met with inspector to finalise the process a few weeks before this date. (Achieved) Under go CSSIW inspection – This was done during May 2014 with an excellent outcome and all of the recommendations have been completed. ( July 2014) Under go Estyn inspection – This has been met (July 2014) Working on recommendations. Quality of assurance – This target has also been met with questionnaires going out to staff/parents/children and visitors of the setting. The report was completed and put on the notice board for all to see. (June 2014). After a review of all the above and we are currently working towards the recommendations with Estyn’s report. We have made the necessary changes to the operational plan as we have achieved all above but have new targets to be met. The targets are realistic and will happen by June 2015, failure to do so will have an impact on the setting and the agreed recommendations failed.
This will also mean a change in operational plan agreed targets. The operational plan is being monitored monthly at current in order for us as a setting to meet the targets in our plan. To determine whether we are following the operational are we: Achieving our aims and objectives – Yes and working towards recommendations. Showing progress with our mission statement – yes. We have taken on excellent new staff who are excelling in their job role therefore delivering to high standards. Meeting the needs of parents/children – yes. All parents are happy and will talk to us at any time should they have an issue. All our children are happy and settled within the setting although some more confident than others.
Using our resources effectively – Yes. We also ask our Foundation Phase co-ordinator should we require something we haven’t got or WPPA have just given us some new tables that were urgently required. We change the resources often and have a good selection to choose from. Comply with care standards/law – Yes. All staff are kind, caring towards the children and always put their best interests first. All insurances are up to date and we always comply with Estyn and care standards. Work within our policies – Yes. All always work within the guidelines of our policies and procedures at all times, adding to the policies if any new ones are required. When evaluating our operational plan, we should:
Ensure they are improvements and be encouraged by them
Provide evidence that you are improving and the impact it’s having on the setting.
Give you a basis for making decisions and planning.
Reviewing and evaluating will be an ongoing process of learning, seeking to improve and develop the setting. A setting cannot evaluate any of its plans unless you have set clear aims and targets, effective operational planning is important with accountability made clear.
Courtney from Study Moose
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