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Celebrating our 140th Anniversary

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Priorities for the future

Wednesday 18th December 2019

The clear recommendation from the research is that Quality, Voice and Growth should be retained as the three strategic priorities, but re-ordered to put a greater emphasis on improving quality. Under each of these areas the following priorities are being recommended:


To be front and centre of the new plan. The current trajectory of improving programme and resources for supporting leaders should continue, with an emphasis on ensuring a quality experience for young people.

A number of minimum standards for what quality looks like should be defined, communicated and managed consistently. The research identified the sorts of things that characterise a “quality Company”.

To develop a clear, intentional approach to succession planning as a core element of this new strategy. A capacity building and empowering approach is required, both to enable future leaders to emerge and to support long serving leaders in preparing exit strategies.

In the survey, respondants were asked; in your view, what does a high-quality Boys’ Brigade company look like? Please tick all that apply.

  • Recruitment and succession planning – 825
  • Upskilling leaders, promotion and take-up of training – 763
  • Established relationshipes with and support from parents – 881
  • Minimum 10 members per section – 314
  • Planned programme – 889
  • Involvement in Battalion and/or District and Regional… – 668
  • Key awards – 541
  • Community presence (outreach) – 723
  • Offering residential experiences – 705
  • Extra programme actives out of the weekly sessions – 649
  • Diverse leadership team (e.g. different ages… – 821


Our experience tells us that growth follows quality, so it is unrealistic to set meaningful targets until the quality of our offering to children & young people has improved.

  • Recognise that 40% of Companies are currently growing; so there is a need to continue to provide resources and support.
  • Focus on retaining existing members should be a priority with the aim of stabilising decline.

A first aid metaphor: Stem the flow by elevating the wound (eg: raise the prominence of the problem) and apply pressure (eg: act on or work with Companies with declining numbers).


Important to define what we mean by the word “Voice”.
Emphasis to be given to giving young people a voice, listening to it and enabling the voice of young people to shape the organisation at every level.

We have seen in the past eighteen months just how much young people are capable of if you give them the opportunity. There are the ones that should be very much involved in setting the strategic plan for the future. You can visualise what growth and quality are going to be. Voice is a bit harder to do. Interview


The review set out to contribute to ‘a vision that unites, excites and inspires our members, leaders, staff and partners’, and it is clear that this is focussed on advancing Christ’s kingdom through providing an opportunity for children and young people to come to know Jesus for themselves. As part of the build up to our new strategic plan the Brigade will be re-affirming our vision, mission and values with a view to embedding these at all levels of the organisation.


It is recommended to invert the organisational pyramid, as an emblem of everything in the new strategy being focused on children and young people and the local Company and Church that supports them.

This new approach is best captured as a circle with children and young people in the local Company/Church at the centre, with each of the outer circles sole purpose being to support the work of Companies. Consideration should be given to streamlining the number of layers in the organisational structure.

The purpose of Battalions should be reviewed, particularly with regard to their role in supporting a quality offering, facilitating links between Companies and encouraging sharing of best practice. BBHQ and the Regions should identify and support Battalions that do not perform well in this area.

We can only do so much because of the decision-making processes above us and the way our structure is. I feel now that it is either not going to change…and if it doesn’t change…I think it is going to die Interview

Being steadfast in leading the way

Uncomfortable though it is, the pace and difficulties of implementing change identified in previous reviews needs to be acknowledged with honesty and humility.

The Brigade Executive (Trustees) and Senior Management Team (Directors from across UK&RoI) need to work together to decide the extent and pace of change required. A timeline for actions over the lifetime of the strategic plan will help to prepare the wider membership for any required changes.

A timeline of milestones towards the 150th anniversary in 2033 is also suggested.

Organisational pace is incredibly slow and this needs to be changed. Survey Respondent

A huge thing that we need to recognise is that what we do in one region cannot necessarily be the same in other regions, they may need different treatment in order to get the same outcome. The strategic plan might mean that there are different bits for different parts. We have often put the same plan together for all the regions, when sometimes they might need very different things Interview

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