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Saturday, November 7, 2015

Week 4 Discussion

Do you think an action plan is required for Oregon's Escape Notification Policy? Why? Consider the policy details provided to analyze and interpret if an action plan is always necessary for implementing a policy?
In your discussions, include the following considerations:
  • What is the purpose of an action plan?
  • Why is an action plan needed with regards to policy implementation?
  • What are the tasks, responsibilities, resources, and timelines considerations in an action plan, if any?

An action plan does not need to be implemented for Oregon's Escape Notification Policy. Welsh and Harris suggest that an action plan be likened to the instructions explaining how to assemble a new computer system or ike the blueprint for building a house(2014, pp. 123,124). In comparing the policy to an action plan, we can see how the notification policy is matches the components of an action plan:

Action Plan
Preparing a Resource Plan - Cost Considerations in Resource Planning
Office-Related Expenses
Planning to Acquire or Reallocate Resources
Specifying Dates for Implementation
List the activities by start date in chronological order
Assign a responsible authority to each dedicated task
Decide the duration of each activity—start date and end date
Developing Mechanisms of Self-Regulation
Specifying a Plan to Build and Maintain Support (South University Online, 2014, pp. 1,2)

We can note that the notification policy is referring to resources already in place, or existing staff. The reallocation of duties is a specification of a duty that should already be part of the staff's duties. The timeline for implementation is concise; now. In developing self-regulation mechanisms, Welsh and Harris state that “All participants, both staff and clients, must understand their respective roles” (2014, p.131); this policy stipulates these as part of section III. It could be argued that the policy does not fully specify a plan to maintain support from ALL interested stakeholders, but the notification policy does stipulate that “Reasonable efforts to notify interested agencies and individuals will be made by
the functional unit manager or designee at the time of escape or unauthorized departure” (DOC, 2002, p.3)

Because an action plan is the blueprint of “who, what, where, when, and how”, it's purpose is to make clear how these are put together in a planned change. This is needed when a policy does not specify these items as part of the policy. The task, responsibility, resource, and timeline considerations will vary by planned change, but an action plan will organize these items for succesul implementation.

Escape Notifications: DOC Policy: 70.1.1. (2002). Oregon Department of Corrections. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from http://www.oregon.gov/DOC/GECO/docs/rules_policies/70.1.1.pdf

South University Online. (2014). MCJ6004: Criminal Justice Planning & Innovation: Action Plan Components (1 of 2). Retrieved November 27, 2014 from myeclassonline.com

South University Online. (2014). MCJ6004: Criminal Justice Planning & Innovation: Action Plan Components (2 of 2). Retrieved November 27, 2014 from myeclassonline.com

Welsh, W. and Harris, P. (2012). Criminal Justice Policy and Planning [VitalSouce bookshelf version]. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from http://digitalbookshelf.southuniversity.edu/books/9781437735000

Discussion Part I
While designing a monitoring plan for your program or policy, if you discovered that different techniques for monitoring the implementation of the program or policy produced conflicting results, how would you reach an effective monitoring plan?
I would combine use of each of the four data collection methods; as any one method can overlook data that is relevant to the the success of the planned change. Of course, this means I need to allocate staff for observatonal and data collection purposes as part of my resource plan. This staff can also be used to provide monitoring feedback to stakeholders.
Consider that the observation data monitoring technique suggests that, on average, staff members spend 1 hour per week on teaching life-skills to clients as the program intended, but the service record data monitoring technique suggests that staff spends 15 minutes on average teaching life-skills to clients, against the program's intentions. What do you think could account for the discrepancy between different monitoring techniques?
If staff is overworked, or if staff does not understand the importance of record keeping in monitoring techniques, then staff may not spend the time necessary for accurate record keeping. Welsh and Harris note this second possibility; “This usually means more work for program or agency staff, on top of their service delivery duties”(2002, p.156). Welsh and Harris stipulate methods of mitigating these circumstances; ”Recording forms should be structured as checklists whenever possible to simplify usage by program staff” (2002, p.152)
Discussion Part II
Among the different observational data collection techniques—narrative, data, and structured rating scheme, which technique do you consider to be the strongest approach? Which technique do you think is the weakest? Explain your rationale.
I'll summarize Welsh and Harris's description of the three methods: in the “narrative method, an observer records events in detail, in the order in which they occur. This is very much like a diary” (2012, p. 151); in the “data guide method, the evaluator or change agent gives observers specific questions that they are required to answer from their observations” (2012, p. 151); and finally, the “structured rating scheme is the most constrained of the three observational methods. We can ask observers to rate some kind of behavior on a standardized scale or checklist” (2012, p. 151). I consider the narrative model to be the strongest, as long as the entries are detailed. By limiting input in the other two models, relevant data that may have been overlooked as relevant in the design stage can continue to be overlooked, whilein the narrative model, data collection analysts can note how it impacts the success of the planned change. The other two methods are equally weaker in comparison, but can be used in planned changes in which staff time for data collection is limited.
Is it advisable to combine two or more observational data collection techniques? Are there any advantages to combining techniques? Are there any disadvantages to combining techniques? Discuss.
Because structured rating and data guides techniques answer specific questions that the change agent(s) consider necessary to monitor success of the planned change, they should be used in conjuction with the narrative technique. However, the more data collection methods in general that are used, the more staff (i.e. resources) are required. This may not be possible in organizations with limited resources.

Welsh, W. and Harris, P. (2012). Criminal Justice Policy and Planning [VitalSouce bookshelf version]. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from http://digitalbookshelf.southuniversity.edu/books/9781437735000

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