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close this bookHandbook for Emergencies - Second Edition (UNHCR, 1999, 414 p.)
close this folder4. Contingency Planning
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentPlanning as a Process
View the documentContingency Planning Tasks
View the documentCharacteristics of a Good Plan
View the documentKey References
View the documentAnnexes

Characteristics of a Good Plan

23. A good plan (whether operations or contingency) should be comprehensive yet not too detailed; it should find the right balance between covering all the important issues yet not flooding the plan with detail.

24. It should be well structured, easy to read and, importantly, easy to update. Much of the plan will be action oriented, so it should have a layout that clearly shows what needs to be done, by whom and by when.

25. It should be a living document and be constantly updated, amended and improved. It is not a document which is comprehensively revised on a schedule, but is one that is constantly in a state of change.

A short document with a clear structure will facilitate updating.

26. A contingency plan should also achieve a balance between flexibility (so it can apply to a variety of scenarios) and specificity (for key practical inputs - e.g. well positioned stockpiles). The plan must not be too directive, and yet must provide adequate guidance. It should not be expected to act as a blueprint.

27. See Annex 1 for the structure of a typical contingency plan.