Plan on a page

About developing an aligned strategy for your NHS knowledge and library service

What is strategy?

‘Strategy’ is a word which derives from the Ancient Greek, meaning ‘Generalship’: a leader on the field of battle is given the ultimate challenge of marshalling the resources at their control in the best way possible, to triumph over adversaries.

The analogy may now be less literal, but the notion of strategy still relates to the research, thinking and planning process which enables an individual, team, department, or organisation to use the resources they have available to create sustainable advantage and be successful in the markets or sectors they operate in (or could operate in).

Having a strategy for your services: why does it matter?

Creates a clear and succinct articulation of the value you provide

  • How your services contribute to supporting the success of your Host organisation
  • How you will evolve alongside them in the future
  • Where you will make a positive difference
  • Enables you to structure important conversations with your organisation and other partners

Helps make your case more persuasive and your life a bit easier; the foundation for compelling

  • Business cases
  • Key presentations
  • Inductions
  • Networking
  • Recruiting senior knowledge and library service advocates
  • Building shared vision and aspiration for your team

Plan on a page modules and supporting materials

Recordings have been made of the Amanda Stearn plan on a page course which are freely available to NHS knowledge and library service staff. For ease of viewing the course was split into the following 5 modules which will walk you through building an aligned plan on a page for your service.

  • Introduction and background review exercises
  • Shape of the strategy, vision and purpose
  • Strategic priorities and strategies
  • Operational tactics, enablers, metrics and alignment
  • NHS LKS plan on a page, main exercise, hints & tips for leading strategy sessions with the team

If you would like access to the videos of these modules plus the supporting course materials, please email [email protected]

Additional resources

Knowledge for Healthcare: Mobilising evidence; sharing knowledge; improving outcomes

This strategy sets the direction for the development of NHS knowledge and library services in England. The priorities are to enable all NHS staff and learners to benefit equally from high-quality knowledge services and optimise the expertise of knowledge and library teams to inform decision making from board to ward, at the bedside and in community and primary care. [Last checked: 09/09/21]

NHS knowledge and library services policies

Policies relevant to NHS funded knowledge and library services. [Last checked: 09/09/21]

Value Proposition: the Gift of Time

The Gift of Time report commissioned by Health Education England, identified key benefits delivered by knowledge and library services to the NHS. [Last checked: 09/09/21]

Quality and Improvement Outcomes Framework

The focus of the six Outcomes is on library and knowledge service improvement. [Last checked: 09/09/21]


Evans, G. E. and Greenwell, S. (2020) Management Basics for Information Professionals (4th ed), Facet

This new fourth edition offers an updated, comprehensive examination of the myriad of basic skills effective library managers must exercise throughout their careers. Includes a chapter on vision, mission, and planning. [Last checked: 09/09/21]

Thompson, G.; Maringanti, H.; Anderson, R.; Soehner, C. and Comer, A. (2019) Strategic Planning for Academic Libraries: A step-by-step guide, ALA  

No doubt about it: strategic planning is a serious commitment. But when carried out skillfully, thoughtfully, and with sensitivity to the impacts on all those involved, it’s an undertaking that can pay large dividends for the library and its users. A strong strategic plan gives shape and clarity to the library’s intentions and, when carefully written, can make a powerful case for the library’s indispensability to its sponsoring institution. [Last checked: 09/09/21]


CILIP: Strategy and planning

Develop strategic HR and L&D for your organisation with the help of our resources. Topics include: the HR role, resourcing and talent planning, reward strategy, leadership, HR analytics, L&D strategy, organisational development, change management, governance, corporate responsibility, and volunteering. [Last checked: 09/09/21]

Mind Tools: Strategy

On this page, you’ll learn 126 strategy skills – techniques that help you understand your competitive environment; identify the options open to you; set strategic priorities; deliver your strategy; and work intelligently in areas like purchasing, marketing, operations, and manufacturing. [Last checked: 09/09/21]

Strategic Planning for Libraries: Resources & Examples

Resources to plan and develop a successful strategic plan from the Massachusetts Library System (MLS). [Last checked: 09/09/21]


Your strategy needs a strategy

Is it possible to look ahead without stumbling over what’s in front of you? All too often companies spend precious time laying out long term strategic plans, only to discover that their maps are out of date in a month. Business strategy expert Martin Reeves offers a solution. He advocates transitioning from relying on a single “classical” approach to strategy and moving towards a more tailored approach to strategy and execution, selecting from 5 distinct patterns of success. [Last checked: 09/09/21]

Page last reviewed: 31 December 2021