A New Tree Life Course!

Tree Strategy Workshop

To see the dates and book on to a Tree Life short course: Click here

Cost: £180 + Vat, includes Buffet lunch

Venue: The Tree Life Training Centre, Syston, Leicestershire

Times: 9.00 - 4.30

Does this course qualify for CPD: Yes

The aim:to write a Good Tree Strategy that can become Policy

Workshop overview

My experience of 41 years in arboriculture and 25 years of teaching professional diploma level tells me that the arboricultural industry is not good at writing strategic documents to become policy and carrying out performance management. Generally Tree Officers don’t know what a good tree strategy is or how to produce one. It is not their fault because, on the whole, they have not been taught the skills and knowledge to be able to write one. Many tree strategies in my experience sit on the shelf not in use or are unusable or have not become implemented as policy. Importantly the tree officer should not be the sole author of a tree strategy but the facilitator to the production. Understanding what a strategy is and what is policy is vital to the success of the implementation of a tree strategy long term.

Generally most arboriculturists are not familiar with tree life span and can’t be expected to be due to a short human life span compared to trees. The Victorians left a legacy of trees that are enjoyed and valued today. However, this legacy is deteriorating and being threatened by climate change and pests and diseases. The arboriculturists of today are the first to experience the reality of sustaining and enhancing what was created by great foresight well before their life time. To realise what resilience and sustainability means and to ensure the best value is made of tree management heading towards 2100, or at least for the current generation of Tree Officers, a strategy to become policy is required for each village, town and city if tree cover and its values are not to diminish.

The three pieces of the puzzle from an organisation’s perspective are:
Where are we now?
Where are we going?
How will we get there?

Strategic planning involves outlining an organisation's purpose, goals and the methods that will be used to accomplish those goals. The situation in Sheffield has highlighted a significant issue of communication and lack of trust between parties.

How a strategy is put together and who by is critical to it becoming policy and this requires wider skills than just one person has. Becoming policy adopted at an executive level in an organisation is crucial to a strategies implementation and review of progress. Having measurable aspects set within a strategy is key to the success of achieving the goals set.

Trees are a long-term investment; a strategy must allow for change in direction if, and when, needed. London plane trees are clearly under threat, how significant is that threat? Should replacement planting be like for like? How can the same or enhanced ecosystem benefits be realised in the future, these questions equate to the three pieces of the puzzle.

The workshop would primarily offer a list of contents and justification for their inclusion along with how to go about the task with a tree officer as a facilitator to the production of a strategy to be adopted at executive level and become policy.

One of the necessary skills to writing a good strategy is the incorporation of measurable aspects i.e., SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound) and performance indicators. The writing of which is a skill in itself. Many current strategies do not have these essential items and are therefore let down badly when it comes to assessing how the implementation of a strategy is progressing. The second goal of the workshop will be exercises in writing SMART objectives and performance indicators. Thoughts on sustainability, resilience to climate change and pest and disease and how these can feature in a strategy will conclude the day.


Workshop aims: At the end of the day the candidates will be able to:

  • Distinguish between what is a strategy and what is a policy document
  • Understand that the tree officer should only be a facilitator to the writing of a strategy
  • Understand who are the shareholders
  • Know what the possible contents of a strategy could be
  • Know the importance of having measurable items in a strategy
  • Be able to write SMART objectives and performance indicators
  • Understand the need for resilience in a tree population

9.00-9.30 - Coffee and arrival

9.30-10.00 - Introduction (what is a strategy? what is a policy?)

10.00- 11.00 - Presentation (Strategy construction)

11.00-11.15 - Coffee and biscuits

11.15-12.00 - Strategy construction continued

12.00-1.00 - Writing SMART objectives and performance indicators

1.00-1.45 - Lunch

1.45-30.00 - Writing SMART objectives and performance indicators

3.00-3.15 - Tea and biscuits

3.15-3.45 - Strategy integration with national and local plans

3.45-4.30 - Thoughts on sustainability, resilience to climate change and pests and diseases and how these can feature in a strategy.

4.30 Depart - safe journey home