RQIA - Building a Strategy Map for Health and Social Care Regulation

RQIA - Building a Strategy Map for Health and Social Care Regulation

The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) is the independent body responsible for monitoring and inspecting the availability and quality of health and social care services in Northern Ireland, and encouraging improvements in the quality of those services.

The RQIA wanted to introduce a new strategic performance management framework. RQIA’s Chairman of the Board, Dr Ian Carson was convinced that at that stage of the development as an organisation "an exciting and innovative approach was necessary to create a new strategic agenda."

RQIA hired me to help them develop a strategy map as well as a set of meaningful key performance indicators to manage, measure and monitor the organisation’s performance.

Mapping the Strategy

I started the strategy mapping process by conducing one-to-one interviews with non-executive and executive board members. After analyzing the interview data I fed the (collective and anonymous) findings back during workshops with the executive team and corporate board, in which we debated and discussed them. During the meetings we agreed on a first draft strategy map

Widespread Consultation

The next steps saw the draft strategy and map go through an intensive development phase. With the executive team serving as a working, or steering, group, the strategy and map were discussed, reviewed and amended through a series of weekly meetings, engagement with staff and further involvement of board members. A formal consultation process with external stakeholders (such as service users, carers, members of the public and others that deliver services) was initiated, and included a range of public engagements throughout Northern Ireland. This process resulted in strong endorsements of the draft strategy from stakeholder groups.

The Strategy Map Described

RQIA's Strategy Map is shown in the figure below. The map comprises of four levels: 1. Value Proposition 2. Core activities 3. Value drivers 4. Resources

Value Proposition

At the top of the map sits RQIA's value proposition:"RQIA provides independent assurance about the quality, safety and availability of health and social care services in Northern Ireland, encourages continuous improvement in those services and safeguards the rights of service users."

Core Activities

The value proposition is distilled into four core activities that RQIA sees as critical for the successful delivery of its strategy. These core activities define both what the organisation must focus on and what differentiates RQIA from other organisations.

Each of these activities: improving care, informing the population, safeguarding rights, and influencing policy, has a single line description. For instance, safeguarding rights, is described as: We act to protect the rights of all people using health and social care services.

Value Drivers

To deliver to these activities, RQIA identified nine value drivers. These represent the activities, linked to RQIA's financial, physical and intangible resources which need to be in place to deliver the strategy. As depicted on the map, value drivers include:
• Engage effectively with stakeholders
• Value and develop our staff
• Use evidence and research to underpin all of our activities


Finally, at the base of the strategy map RQIA has identified the resources that underpin its work and which must be managed effectively.These include: • Underpinning legislation
• Organisational relationships
• Information and communications technology infrastructure
• Among others.

Strategic Initiatives

Once the strategy map was in place RQIA developed a template through which it could identify the initiatives that will help deliver the goals and objectives outlined on the map. These are identified or renewed each year as part of the annual business planning process.

Key Performance Indicators

In order to identify the most relevant and meaningful key performance indicators (KPIs) we first identified the performance related questions the leadership required answers to. We call such questions Key Performance Questions , or KPQs for short.

By first designing KPQs organisations ask themselves: ‘What is the best data and management information we need to collect to help us answer our key performance questions?’

"Although a new concept for us, KPQs have proven critical in creating a bridge between strategic goals and our thinking in terms of performance measurement," saysMaurice Atkinson, RQIA's Director of Corporate Services. "They helped us to better clarify the purpose and role of KPIs.

Benefits the Strategy Map

The Chairman, Dr. Carson commented that "the key benefit of the map is that it is a visual representation of what we need to do to deliver to our strategy and realise the benefits that flow from that."

The Chief Executive, Glenn Houston agreed with this view and added that "it provides a clear strategic roadmap and enables a shared organisation-wide view of the strategic direction."

Communication is another clear benefit of the map creation, according to Atkinson. "Soon after the map was finalised, managers from various departments were asking for a PowerPoint version as they found it an easy and powerful way to communicate RQIA's strategy and role of the organisation to staff and stakeholders," he says. "The strength of a Strategy Map for communication purposes should not be underestimated."



Written by

Bernard Marr

Bernard Marr is an internationally bestselling author, futurist, keynote speaker, and strategic advisor to companies and governments. He advises and coaches many of the world’s best-known organisations on strategy, digital transformation and business performance. LinkedIn has recently ranked Bernard as one of the top 5 business influencers in the world and the No 1 influencer in the UK. He has authored 16 best-selling books, is a frequent contributor to the World Economic Forum and writes a regular column for Forbes. Every day Bernard actively engages his almost 2 million social media followers and shares content that reaches millions of readers.

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