Amidst a backdrop of increasing demands on government budgets, sport and recreation facilities are being asked to become increasingly financially self-sufficient. Business plans, feasibility studies, life-cycle cost plans, design aspects, construction
processes and the operational asset management of facilities are being placed under more scrutiny than ever before. This applies to both local government owned facilities and community based facilities.
The management of a facility plays a crucial role in its continued successful operation. Management planning will impact significantly on design, administrative and financial considerations and occurs in the initial concept stages of planning
for a facility. The two most crucial factors in successful management are financial control and effective service delivery to ensure a smooth operation.
In order to remain relevant and to be an ongoing success, managers of recreation facilities need to plan ahead, anticipating change and modifying services accordingly. Without a management plan in place, organisations run the risk of being ineffective,
vulnerable to changing trends and wasting valuable resources. A management plan is designed to deliver a project - not only during the set-up phase, but also for the lifetime of the project.
In order to remain relevant and to be an ongoing success, managers of sport and recreation facilities need to plan ahead, anticipate change and modify services accordingly.
Without a management plan in place, organisations run the risk of being ineffective, vulnerable to changing trends and wasting valuable resources. A management plan is designed to deliver a project — not only during the set-up phase, but
also for the lifetime of the project.
Your management plan is a resource that everyone involved in the facility can work to. However, there are a number of key principles that should be considered. The information provided in this guide will assist facility managers to achieve efficient
management practices, which will ultimately increase the likelihood of a successful facility.
A management plan is a formal planning tool that aims to design the future operations of the facility. It is a written document that outlines:
A good management plan will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your facility. It identifies who your clients are, what services are on offer and why. It will provide you with short and long term goals, improve the quality of your services
and products and enable you to manage a more successful operation.
How the facility fits into the broader corporate direction of the parent organisation.
Management is forced to evaluate the consequences of alternative strategies and tactics.
Services and products are tailored to meet customer needs. New opportunities and competitive advantages are discovered.
A clear statement of what the organisation/facility does and where its key stakeholders want it to be.
The amount of human and financial resources needed to launch or operate a facility (previously identified in the Feasibility Assessment) is reviewed and finalised.
The financial requirements for any capital works, and
for all operational activities are detailed. Cash flows and balance sheets are projected for the next 1–5 years.
Potential problems and risk associated with managing the facility are identified and ways of overcoming or mitigating them are detailed.
Ways of measuring and evaluating the effectiveness of the facility are established.
A vision statement is the first step in the planning process followed closely by the development of a mission statement.
A vision statement is a vivid description of a desired outcome that inspires, energises and helps the organisation create a mental picture of your target. It could be a vision of a project or goal.
Vision statements are often confused with mission statements, but they serve complementary purposes.
The next step in preparing a management plan is to develop a mission statement for your facility. The mission statement is a clear statement of what the facility does and the way in which it will be managed. The mission statement describes:
It is important to ensure that all personnel are committed to the mission statement. Encourage input into the planning process from all levels of management, not just senior staff. It is also important that whatever vision and mission is developed,
it reflects the aspirations of the stakeholders.
A mission statement which truly reflects a shared vision will created unity and commitment within your organisation.
Once the mission statement has been agreed to, the next step is to work out how to achieve it. It is important to identify the goals that will enable you to achieve your mission. Goals reflect what you aim to achieve and give direction to the
operation of the facility. They are usually broad statements that have no time frames.
For example, following are the mission statement and goals of a sporting club with its own facility.
Highfields Sports Club will offer and promote sport within the community and will provide facilities regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, degree of ability or disability.
With the goals in place, the final step is to set out major initiatives. These are the specific actions needed in order to achieve the goals. It is helpful to arrange and focus on these in key performance areas.
Collectively, your objectives form an action plan and detail specific actions that will be taken at a particular time in order to achieve a defined outcome.
Together your initiatives should form an action plan showing:
Clearly detail all the assumptions made to determine the goals and major initiatives. Key performance areas (KPA) focus on general areas of operation within a facility, where a desired outcome is required over the period of the management plan.
Focus areas are those specific operational areas within a key performance area. For example, a focus area within a key performance area of finance would be operational budgets.
An example of goals/initiatives for a sporting facility that is run by a sport or club is shown below:
An example of the goals/initiatives of a larger recreation facility is outlined below:
An excerpt from the Waverley Council Management Plan 2000–2003
All sporting facilities require a management plan. Preparing a management plan is not a difficult task, however it will require a considerable time commitment. It may be practical to develop your management plan in stages, adding to it and refining
it over time. This is extremely important, particularly when the organisation is seeking funding in the future for their facility.
To be able to complete each of the components as outlined in Section 5 of this kit, you need to gather a broad range of information on your facility. This process of researching and questioning will enable you to set your goals and devise a number
of objectives to achieve those goals.
When preparing a management plan consider the following:
The responsibility for developing a management plan for a sporting or recreation facility lies with the facility manager. However, it is critical that all staff and volunteers are given the opportunity to input their ideas. It may also be appropriate
to seek input from other organisations and key members of the community such as representatives of local government, local sporting clubs/associations, local businesses, youth workers and co-ordinators of other community facilities.
Through adopting an open planning process you are more likely to:
The following list outlines the process for developing a management plan.
Although each management plan is relevant to a particular facility and its core business, there are a number of key components that must be considered.
A check-list of topics to be included in the management plan is summarised below.
The executive summary provides a brief overview of the key components of the management plan and incorporates recommendations. Keep your main points in mind as you write the summary. You do not need to include every point in the summary, but ensure
that the major ideas are covered succinctly. This summary should be able to be read and understood as a separate document from the management plan.
An executive summary is always at the beginning of a management plan.
This section of the management plan provides an assessment of influential trends in the sport and recreation industry relating to your facility and background detail on the organisation. This includes:
Market research is a difficult section to prepare but one of the most important when developing a management plan. Collecting statistics and market research data will help you meet the needs of existing and potential customers and gain a greater
understanding of your industry. Once you have a clearer understanding of market trends you are then able to implement practices to help your business grow.
This component should provide an analysis of your competitors, customers and the marketplace. It should:
Each market research project varies and involves five basic steps:
Primary data is obtained by observation, experimentation and survey. Observation is an effective way of collecting information about customers. All that is required is observing what customers do before, during and after participating in a program.
The final step is to document the findings, reach conclusions and make a series of recommendations.
This section provides an outline of the organisational structure, levels of authority and strategies for maintaining a high standard of management. This includes:
An asset management plan is critical to the management of a facility. To protect the high capital investment and ensure the reliable operation of your facility, a preventative maintenance program must be established. In your management plan include
a physical description of your centre and detail strategies for building maintenance. It should include:
The Department of Sport and Recreation’s Asset Management Guide January 2004 has the information to assist organisations with developing an asset management plan. This is available through the Department of Sport and Recreation’s website
on www.dsr.wa.gov.au or the nearest office to you.
Past, present and projected financial data must be presented to assess the viability of the facility, including:
All facilities face problems and all future projections are based on assumptions. This section outlines any future considerations that impact on your facility including:
Prepare for surprises — identify and assess possible risks and how you will deal with the situation should any of these risks actually occur. Risk is defined as the chance of something happening that will have an impact on objectives. It
is measured in terms of consequence and likelihood.
This section describes how you intend to measure your performance and whether or not you are achieving your objectives. Gather only information that can be used. Information that can be monitored on a regular basis includes:
Once the management plan has been developed, it is important that it does not gather dust on the shelf and become rapidly out of date. Although a management plan is prepared with a three to five year period in mind, it must be updated on a yearly
basis to be relevant. Future changes within the sport and recreation industry, the organisation, the target groups, the marketplace and broader community will impact on the operations of your facility.
An implementation plan should be completed after the management planning process is completed. Implementation plans are working documents to be reviewed at regular intervals.
Implementation plans state:
Tips for implementing a plan
Below is a sample of an implementation plan for a softball association.
For management plans to remain effective, the organisation will need to review and amend it regularly. This requires processes that ensure the plans remain a dynamic working tool for the organisation.
Goals and objectives will need to be refined, modified and in some cases, rewritten. Identify the people in the organisation who will be responsible for monitoring. Tips for monitoring, evaluating and reviewing the management plan:
Good management doesn’t just happen — it needs to be planned. Achievable goals and major initiatives need to be established and followed, sound methods in accounting, budgeting and pricing must be adhered to, and maintaining current
knowledge of client needs and aspirations must be a priority.
The importance of flexibility in terms of programming and staffing cannot be overstated. Equally important is the need for ongoing evaluation and assessment, to ensure services are aligned with current trends and developments in the industry and
By developing a management plan, you will become more effective, efficient and relevant in your service provision, maximising the use of resources while creating meaningful recreation opportunities for your community. Planning your management
is smart and will take you down the road to success!
How to Develop a Management Plan for Your Facility – Department of Sport and Recreation, First Edition – February 1995
Sample Strategic Business Plan – NSW Department of Tourism, Sport and Recreation
Managing Your Project – Sport England, March 2004
Recreation and Sport Planning and Design – A Guidelines Manual – Jim Daly 1995.
Waverley Council Management Plan 2000–2003
Australian Sports Commission 2004, Planning in Sport
Making Your Recreation Centre Viable – Sport and Recreation Ministers’ Council, Commonwealth of Australia, 1990
Leisure Centre Management – Hilary Commission For Sport, Fitness and Leisure, 1993.
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