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Developing Poverty Reduction Strategy Timelines

Systems Strategies


This resource supports learning through reading case studies of poverty reduction committees whose timelines were unexpectedly lengthened. It includes a range of examples, a summary of issues, and a workplan template.

This tool provides a compilation of Cities Reducing Poverty members’ anticipated vs. actual timeframes for developing their community-wide poverty reduction strategies. Review the areas of work that tend to bubble up, gain advice from the lead organizers, and readjust your own workplan. One of the most common lessons we hear from Cities Reducing Poverty (CRP) members, is the unexpected amount of time it takes to create and launch a poverty reduction strategy.

As such, this compilation of timelines from five CRP members provides a comparison of their anticipated vs. actual amount of time it took to develop and launch a community-wide poverty reduction strategy, including a summary of the most un- or under anticipated areas of work that took extra time.

While each community will encounter its own unexpected twists and turns, the goal is to provide organizers with a few points-of-reference and insights from across Canada to assist in planning and setting expectations.

  1. Discover the most commonly reported areas of unexpected time (below).
  2. Explore how much additional time each area of work took in different community poverty reduction committees. (see timeline charts in original resource Pages 3 – 7.)
  3. Select one, two or more timelines that are most similar to your own workplan, and read their narrative(s) to learn more about each community’s experience navigating the strategy development and gain advice from the organizers (see case studies in original resource Pages 8 – 12)
  4. Reflect and make revisions to your own workplan based on your learnings (below).
  5. Dive into resources that will help you navigate the trickier areas of work (below).

Summary: Unexpected Issues/Areas of Work Taking Time

The table below contains a summary of unexpected issues and areas of work requiring more time, as reported by lead organizers of five Cities Reducing Poverty communities.

Establishing a shared vision – Getting the Roundtable and/or Leadership Team on the same page with an overall goal and approach. Create a sense of commonality, build trust, and give coherence to diverse activities.
Momentum – Unexpected level of excitement in the community and snowballing engagements. Gain as much support as possible for the strategy development and implementation by accommodating individuals, groups and sectors that come forward wanting to engage with the initiative, often for the first time or in a new way
Targeted community engagement – Engaging people with lived/living experience and marginalized communities. Including the expertise of beneficiaries and empowering people with lived/living experience to participate all along the way and without undue burden builds credibility, trust, shared ownership, and a better informed strategy. 
Personal engagement – One-on-one engaging key people, ideally from the beginning, but all throughout the strategy development, as champions and/or partners of the initiative.Personal buy-in and commitment leads to sectorwide/widespread commitment.
Community engagement logistics – Event planning for major consultations (Ex. Venue, food) and coordinating and organizing with working groups. Support community members to convene and have a positive experience collaborating on the strategy.
Government timeframes – Securing meetings, processing reports, waiting to present to Council. Political buy-in
Language – Use of language internally, and particularly, publicly. (Ex. Working definitions, strategy drafting, letters of invitation, etc.) Shared, inclusive, accessible conceptualization of the vision, issues, goals, approach and activities.
Holidays (Summer and Winter breaks) – Meeting with partners and receiving replies slows down; convening and decision-making with the Roundtable often pauses completely; no public launches. Inclusion of partners in every aspect of the planning, development and launching of the strategy.
Compiling, writing and editing the strategy report – Writing with appropriate language, styling and formatting, gaining validation from partners, and incorporating revisions. Everyone who has contributed to the development phase sees themselves in the strategy and feels it is useful.
Staff transitions – Changing staff positions within the organization providing backbone support. Continuity challenges – Reduced capacity, new team members getting up to speed, re-establishing relationships, etc. 

Of note, three commonly reported accelerators of strategy development included: already having the right people at the table, previously completed research, and federal/provincial initiatives (esp. the opportunity to contribute to poverty reduction strategy consultations).

  1. What common phases or pockets of work appear in your own workplan? Based on what others have indicated, do you need to plan additional time or capacity to undertake them?
  2. Have you discovered any new streams of work you had not planned for previously? What are the implications – on your timeline and for stakeholders you are most accountable to?

Outline your revised workplan, incorporating new timing considerations. 

Stream of WorkActivitiesLead (s)Timeframe
Phase 1: Organize, plan, initiate contact
  • Draft workplan
  • Develop core team
  • Co-generate a common vision and framework
  • Establish evaluation team
  • Create enagement plan
  • Identify and engage key partners
  • Logistics planning

Roundtable coordinator

Core Team

Jan – May 2019

(Consultation must happen prior to June)