Discover how development planning offers direction and ensures more young people have access to Scouts
Robert Baden-Powell once said: ‘Those who never make any plans, never make any progress.’ This is why making a development plan can be so beneficial.
Everyone has a part to play in ensuring we're continuously improving, so this guidance is relevant to all levels (Section, Group, District, County/Area/Region). Please note that depending on your role, you may need to tailor these tools.
What is a development plan?
A development plan should provide direction, the sustainability of existing provision and ensure that Scouts can be provided to more young people.
The plan can be recorded in a document that details the priorities identified through knowledge and research. It should have SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound) actions, responsibilities/accountabilities and timescales.
The document should be created by the relevant leadership team and doesn't necessarily need to be called a Development Plan. For example, it could be called a Programme of Work, an Action Plan, or the District Plan.
It's important to assess the current situation before creating a Development Plan. This provides a benchmark so that changes can be easily identified, monitored and reviewed.
Engaging your team in the process
It’s important to involve all your volunteers with this and include members from all teams, such as trustees and supporters.
Engaging with these people will:
- Provide the opportunity for people to share their concerns, priorities and ideas
- Allow people to come together and talk about how to address common issues
- Encourage them to take ownership of the final plan and help motivate everyone to achieve its objectives
Gathering ideas and information
Here are some suggested methods you can use to gather information, choose the approach that best works for you and ensure the widest possible engagement.
You may decide to go with one method or a combination. For example, you could run a development event alongside a survey.
Create and share a survey with your team to gather information, thoughts and ideas. A variety of online platforms are available, such as Google forms, MS Forms and Survey Monkey, so pick the one that works best for you. You need to consider the questions you want to ask and what data you need to collect. Use our example survey to get some question ideas.
Discuss as part of a regular meeting
You could add development planning to you regular meeting agenda. This could be a trustee meeting, management team or other regular forum. Make sure the Chair or someone else is prepared and ready to facilitate the discussion. You could also make use of our Smelly Socks and Shiny Stars or Reflection activities.
Data to analyse
Here's some different ways you could analyse data to help identify trends, opportunities and areas for improvement.
Reviewing this will help you identify trends, small sections and opportunities for growth. Check out our guide to using data to help interpret your findings.
Use the Office for National Statistics website to gather information about the ages and spread of the population around you.
Finding out the location of places like other Scouts and youth organisations, schools, places of worship and culturally specific retail outlets can give you an idea of any gaps that might need filling.
This activity helps you identify what works well and any areas needing improvement. Check out our guide on how to run this activity as part of a development event.
This activity takes a deeper dive than Smelly Sock and Shiny stars, allowing you to identify the areas that you want to: keep doing, start doing, stop doing, do less of, do more of, and any opportunities.
If you have a previous development plan, review this information and establish what actions are complete, ongoing or no longer relevant.
Prioritise and create your plan
Now that you've gathered information and analysed data, it’s time to collate all the actions and areas for improvement.
Once you have these listed, you’ll need to prioritise them so you have a focused list of areas that you're going to work on. You can use our Planning Matrix to help.
Next take each improvement area and agree the actions needed to achieve this, remember to keep it succinct and SMART. Then record these in your Development Plan.
Share, implement and review
Share the plan with all your team members using the most appropriate method, for example sending it electronically or presenting it at a meeting. This will help to ensure that they all understand their role in the delivery of the plan.
Scheduling some calendared check-ins or adding to a regular meeting agenda can help to ensure progress is made and any challenges are dealt with in a timely manner. Remember to record when actions have been completed and share news of the successes.
Your development plan should be a live document, updating it as things progress. We recommend involving the whole team in reviewing the plan annually or once all the actions have been completed.
Support with development planning and projects
Development planning event agendaDownload the event agenda
Development survey exampleDownload the survey example
Planning matrixDownload the planning matrix
Development plan exampleDownload the example plan
Development plan templateDownload the template