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COVID-19: implications for our practice

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Printed: 22/09/2020
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Last updated: 01/04/2019

SMART planning

Good planning should follow the SMART principles: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timeframed.

A framework for creating good plans

Planning follows the simple rule — it needs to be SMART.

Plans are based on our assessment of the needs of te tamaiti. They should describe in detail the outcomes that you, te tamaiti, family, whānau, caregivers and others want to achieve.

Planning and reviewing

1 Specific

A specific outcome has a much greater chance of being achieved than a general outcome. Participants should understand exactly what changes will be seen when the outcomes are achieved, and what everyone will be doing to feel confident that te tamaiti is safe and their needs are being met.

  • Outline the specific actions that will be undertaken in order to meet the identified needs.
  • Include actions needed to maintain and enhance the things that are going well.
  • Detail what will happen to keep te tamaiti and the family/whānau safe if things don’t go to plan.
  • Describe exactly what is expected of everyone and what assistance will be provided.


Joshua is always supervised by a safe adult who is sober/not affected by drugs. 

2 Measurable

Measuring progress helps participants understand whether the actions are having the desired impact and whether the plan is on track or needs to be modified.

  • Establish concrete ways to measure progress.
  • For each action, describe what participants will see, hear and feel that shows progress as everyone works towards the outcomes.


  • No alcohol being consumed around te tamaiti.
  • School (teacher) will fill in Joshua’s learning chart every day and he will take it home for mum and dad to sign.

3 Achievable

Achievable outcomes must be understood and agreed by the participants, who should be willing and able to work towards them. 

The plan should develop the capacity of the family/whānau to achieve the outcomes — this may include actions which develop attitudes, abilities, skills, or financial capacity.

  • Check that the family/whānau has the ability to undertake the changes necessary with support and assistance.
  • Ensure that we are providing the right advice and support for them to do this. 


  • The social worker will refer mum to the community budgeting service for advice on how to manage her debt.
  • Mum will work with the community budgeting service to ensure there is enough money put aside for food.

4 Relevant

The plan should be purposeful.

  • Focus outcomes, actions and timeframes on addressing the identified needs of te tamaiti and any victims they have offended against — each action in the plan should contribute directly to this.
  • Ensure the plan is consistent with other concurrent plans.


Mum will arrange for a safe adult to supervise Joshua when she is not able to.

5 Timeframed

An outcome should be grounded within a timeframe to provide a sense of urgency.

  • Clearly outline timeframes for checking on progress and achieving the outcomes.
  • Ensure timeframes are tamaiti-focused. Younger or less cognitively able tamariki generally respond better to shorter timeframes.