Trying to anticipate the future and to prepare for it is the main driving force of any government initiated development programme. For long, it has been done in several ways.
1. Through systems and procedures manuals for decisions that must be made repeatedly. This allowed time for more important decisions and ensured more or less consistent decisions.
2. Through budget by anticipating future activities and flow of funds. Planning and control system was created.
Budget and control system tend to be based on present activities and conditions, and do not by themselves deal well with change. These systems provide better financial control. On the other hand. Long range planning focused on future by using economic and technological tools.
These are ‘first generation’ plans as these chose the most probable appraisal and diagnosis of the future environment and of the strengths and weaknesses of the organisations. These are at best the best strategy for a match of the environment and the organisation – a single plan for the most likely future.
Disaster management requires, on the other hand, “strategic planning” or “strategic management” which focuses on ‘second generation planning', that is, analysis of the disaster and the preparedness of the several scenarios for the future. Contingency strategies are then prepared for each of these likely future scenarios.
Plans and policies are guides to action that lead to achieve goals by implementing strategies of the organisation. They indicate how resources are to be allocated and how tasks assigned to the organisation might be accomplished so that functional level officers execute the strategy properly.
An organisation requires some mechanism to ensure that activities to achieve the organisational goals are integrated and coordinated. Further it is important that the plans developed for implementation be coupled with strategies; otherwise, the plans may move the organisation in an unintended direction.
The major ways in which these aspects of implementation are accomplished is through the development of plans, policies and administrative processes. Policies indicate how the tasks assigned to the organisation might be accomplished and provide a basis for lower-level officers on which to make decisions about the use of resources which have been allocated. Plans and policies are developed o ensure that
i. The strategic decision is implemented,
ii. There is a basis for control,
iii. The amount of time for making decisions is reduced,
iv. Similar situations are handled consistently, and
v. Coordination across the departments will occur where necessary.
Resistance to change, conflict resolution techniques, coalition building will all at play in the development of plans and policies along with environmental factors.