Turning Strategy into Success: Dara’s Strategic Plan Implementation

Dara (previously Dara Community Living) strives to ensure that those with intellectual disabilities are respected as equal citizens and can live a meaningful life of their choice. Dara does this through the provision of residential, respite and individualised day supports in community settings, working across the Dublin and Mid-Leinster region.

The Context

Since Dara was established in 1990, the organisation has grown and evolved in an external environment characterised by significant change. The context in which the Strategic Plan was developed presented an opportunity to take stock, reflect on successes and develop a roadmap that was both ambitious and achievable.

Significant progress in disability legislation and policy reflects a more person-centred approach, one which is underpinned by human rights and grounded in people’s meaningful inclusion and participation. Moving forward, a priority for Dara was to align with and support these new developments. Additionally, increasing needs were being presented, which encouraged Dara to consider how their service delivery and organisation could be best positioned to respond.

Dara Logo
2into3 Strategic Planning Process

The Action

Consultation and listening to stakeholders was a fundamental step in this process, and greatly enriched the final outcome.

During the period between October 2022 to March 2023, 2into3 worked closely with Dara to deliver virtual workshops, in person workshops and surveys with Dara’s key stakeholders. This included people supported by Dara, their families, staff, external stakeholders and Board members.

Throughout the consultations, several key themes emerged which shaped the Strategic plan, ensuring that the organisation’s future pathway aligned with stakeholder hopes and expectations for the organisation. The resultant Strategic Plan 2023 – 2026 has a new Vision, Mission and Values, and four strategic priorities for the next three years: Service Delivery, Involvement, One Organisation and Organisation Capacity.

The Result

Dara’s priority was to develop a Strategic Plan that is a living document; one which informs decision-making and which they could track progress against.

Since the publication of their Strategic Plan, Dara has made notable strides in implementation. Under the focus on Service Delivery, Dara endeavours to empower individuals to actively engage in education, employment, and leisure pursuits, whilst enjoying a sense of belonging within their communities and accessing suitable housing options.

Accomplishments under the Strategy in 2023 included the establishment of a Hub in Celbridge, a significant move toward enhancing community involvement, as well as the commencement of an employment programme. Additionally, progress has been evident in housing initiatives, including the expansion of housing stock, acquisition of a CAS bungalow tailored for older individuals, and an increase in the number of individuals benefiting from rent supplements through RAS/HAP.

Regarding organisational capacity, Dara remains committed to ensuring its readiness to deliver, evidenced by the recent addition of a full-time Health Coordinator, a Quality, Risk, and Compliance Manager and progress towards pay parity. In line with its commitment to staff training and skills development, leadership and Social Role Valorisation training has been provided.

Dara has also invested in its website and brand; contributing to a unified and cohesive organisation and ensuring that their identity is well recognised.

We look forward to seeing Dara continue this journey of implementation, and to witness the transformative change they are creating as they work towards their vision of ‘People of all abilities live a good life their way, through their voice and their choices’.

Interested in developing a Strategic Plan for your organisation?

If you would like to discuss how we might be able to support you strengthen your strategy, impact or organisational effectiveness, please contact our Director of Advisory Services, Luna Atkins on +353 86 063 4932.