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Header image for the current page How mature is your Integrated Business Planning?

How mature is your Integrated Business Planning?

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Integrated Business Planning (IBP), which provides a framework to align and manage resources to achieve strategic and operational performance goals, should be viewed as a vital process for NHS organisations to improve healthcare delivery.

NHS Arden & GEM offers a bespoke model for IBP, as a part of its Centre of Integrated Planning, enabling health and care system partners to implement this effective framework as part of a results-driven approach to improved outcomes, improved performance and improved social value.

Our model supports the implementation of IBP in the NHS by addressing the current state, desired outcomes and the strategic alignment of resources.

1. Where are we now?
Understanding the current state involves assessing investments, outcomes and performance against the Triple Aim duty of better patient experience, improved population health and reduced costs. This initial assessment provides a baseline for measuring progress and identifying areas for improvement.

2. Where do we want to be?
Defining the level of ambition for key results across population, place and services is crucial. Goals should align with national and local health needs.

3. How do we align our resources?
Aligning financial, workforce and capacity resources with key performance measures is essential for achieving desired outcomes. This involves strategic allocation to ensure that all resources contribute towards organisational goals.

4. How do we identify gaps?
Identifying gaps between current and future needs is critical for proactive planning. This includes modelling scenarios and impact to address potential shortfalls.

5. Scenario modelling
Scenario modelling involves analysing internal (e.g. organisational changes and policy updates) and external factors (e.g. economic shifts and demographic changes), including drivers and enablers, to anticipate potential impacts. This foresight allows NHS leaders to prepare for various possible futures.

6. Impact modelling
Modelling the impact of initiatives on desired results ensures that actions taken are effective and contribute towards strategic goals. This step involves evaluating the outcomes of different strategies.

7. Decision making
Decision making in IBP requires a connected approach to resource management, utilising a unified set of data, measures and indicators to ensure consistency and clarity across the organisation.

Planning horizon and reviews

The NHS should adopt a rolling yearly or biannual planning horizon with monthly and/or quarterly reviews. Key reviews include evaluating service delivery performance, aligning patient demand with health plans, monitoring actual performance against objectives, assessing resource utilisation, ensuring budget compliance, meeting quality and safety standards, aligning strategy with NHS objectives, assessing progress of initiatives, identifying and managing risks and incorporating stakeholder feedback.

NHS assurance should focus on ensuring plans are realistic yet ambitious, with clear milestones and deliverables. Effective partnership working across ICBs is essential, with plans reflecting system-wide projections, appropriate seasonal demand changes, and aligned demand, capacity, bed and staffing plans. Identifying and mitigating risks and ensuring coordinated service delivery through system plans are also critical.

Empowering teams

Empowering NHS teams through education and coaching is integral to the IBP approach. This enables the design and implementation of sustainable improvements, a methodology proven successful globally.

Outcomes and impact

Using our model to implement IBP in the NHS can lead to significant improvement in several areas including patient outcomes, population health, sustainability, effectiveness, efficiency and equity. You can read more about the potential benefits and their evidence base here.

If you would like a better understanding of where your organisation sits in terms of planning maturity, then we have a developed a short self-assessment tool aligned to this IBP model. By answering ten simple questions, you will receive an estimated maturity level to help inform your progress towards achieving fully integrated business planning.