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Planning and risk management


The department’s planning is guided by the legal and authorising environment. Our planning system starts with the department’s strategic plan, and covers:

  • corporate services
  • sites (Families SA, preschools and schools) 
  • individual personal development plans.

Our planning, monitoring and reporting is dependent on each other. The information reported feeds back into the planning process to help make decisions about the direction of the department.

The department has adopted an evidenced-based, system-wide project management approach outlined in the project management framework (staff login required) and recommends that all project managers follow this methodology.

Risk management

The department is committed to making risk management a part of all our operations and business culture. We see risk management as the responsibility of all employees, including contractors, business partners and volunteers. 

We comply with the SA government risk management policy statement (PDF 330 KB). Our department chief executives are accountable to their ministers for developing and implementing a risk management policy and framework.

The DECD risk management policy and framework (staff login required) embeds risk management into the governance and practices of the department. 

A number of departmental planning tools incorporate risk management including:

  • the DECD Strategic plan
  • the Families SA Service plan
  • the management framework
  • the performance development plan.

DECD strategic plan

The DECD strategic plan 2014 to 2017 is the highest level planning tool for the department, with all other plans following on from it. It outlines what we aim to achieve, and our key priorities and strategies. It guides our decisions when allocating resources against each of the six priority areas:

  • higher standards of learning achievement
  • improve health and wellbeing
  • improve and integrate child safety
  • engage children, families and communities
  • right service at the right time
  • build a better system.

Families SA service plan

The Office for Child Protection has lead responsibility for the strategic plan priority of improving and integrating child safety. The Families SA service plan (PDF 363KB) sets out the aspirations, mission and service directions of Families SA staff to achieve this priority.

The objectives and strategies within the plan form the basis for improved service delivery including:

  • promoting the protection of children
  • responding to concerns of immediate safety
  • intervening protectively
  • supporting children in our care to thrive and develop
  • providing safe and quality services.

Performance development planning

Performance and development planning is an ongoing process. It connects the work of all our employees to organisational planning, strategic objectives and performance standards.

Implementing a performance and development system is mandated by the performance and development policy and guidelines (staff login required). The policy is supported by the Education Act 1972 and the Public Sector Act 2009.


Induction is a critical part of our performance development planning, as it helps staff to understand the corporate governance arrangements of the department. The People and Culture Strategy explains how induction will be consistently carried out and monitored across the department.

Strategic planning cycle

The strategic planning cycle will be a coordinated approach to connecting strategic planning, operational planning, performance reviews and the implementation of system reforms. 


Office of the Chief Executive

Level 9, Education Centre
31 Flinders St

Phone: 8226 1540
EmailDECD.CE [at] sa.gov.au