Annual Review 2015-2016

A record 253,005 young people started their DofE programme in the year.  This is a 6% increase on the previous year  and breaking through a quarter of a million new participants for the first time. Importantly, a record 41,667 of these were young people identified as being disadvantaged, at risk or marginalised: these are the individuals that we know derive the greatest benefit from their DofE experience.
The Lord Kirkham CVO, Chair of Trustees

Welcome to our review of activities for the 12 months to June 2016.  It’s been an amazing year of growth and we hope you will enjoy reading about what’s been going on with the DofE in the UK, helping young people develop their skills for work and life.

Follow the links on the right to find out more, or explore by scrolling down.

You can download our full Annual Report and Accounts here.


Chairman's Report

“I want to say thank you to everyone involved in making the DofE experience a reality for so many young people of the UK. My fellow Trustees and I are very grateful indeed but, more importantly, as I meet the young people you have helped, I know that they appreciate and value it most highly too.”
The Lord Kirkham CVO, Chair of Trustees

Read the Chairman's Report
Thank you to our Licensed Organisations

Thank you to our Licensed Organisations

The pace of change for our Charity shows in the growth in the number of Licensed Organisations that make up our network. We closed the year with 1,822 Licensed Organisations: an increase of 42% on the previous year which was itself a 41% increase on the year before that.

These Licensed Organisations (LOs) range from a single school through to local authorities and national youth organisations such as the Scouts, Guides, ATC and many more.  See the breakdown of participation by centre type here. Within these LOs, there are 13,218 DofE centres and within each of the centres there will be several groups undertaking their DofE at different levels.  This requires support from around 50,000 volunteer and professional Leaders right across the UK.

“I want to thank everyone that volunteers to work with The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.  It’s quite an extraordinary thing that people across the United Kingdom give up their time, their energy and their expertise to help young people develop themselves through the Award.”
Peter Westgarth, CEO, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

Our strategic objectives

Our strategic objectives

We set ourselves the following challenging targets to be achieved by 2016/17:

  • Increase our number of new participants to 300,000 annually
  • Increase completion rates to 50%
  • Increase the proportion of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds from 10% to 20%
DofE stories

DofE stories

Read about the amazing work done in the name of the DofE over the past year, helping to develop young people for life and work…

Thank you

Thank you

“Thank you. We’re absolutely delighted that so many of our supporters are behind our Diamond Ambition. We really couldn’t do it without you.  We need to raise more funds and we need to spread the word, but it is you that is helping us to do this. We are extremely grateful.”
Jacqui Larcombe
, Fundraising Director


Download the list of our benefactors
Supporting DofE delivery

Supporting DofE delivery

A great deal of our time and resources is spent in supporting the delivery of DofE programmes.

This year, we have relaunched our online management system, eDofE; built a new shop to provide easier access to DofE resources for those involved in delivering programmes; expanded our Approved Activity Provider network and developed Young Leader projects around the UK.

Read more about these initiatives
Extending our reach

Extending our reach

In order to help ensure the consistency of the management of the DofE in Youth Justice, we began talks in March with Novus – the UK’s biggest prison education provider – to see if they would be interested in taking up a licence to manage and deliver DofE in the secure estate.  Progress has been rapid, and Novus will shortly begin managing the provision of DofE at Wetherby, Werrington and Cookham Wood YOIs and Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre.

“Novus are excited to be working with the DofE as a National Operating Authority. This will be the first time that the DofE has been rolled out consistently across the young people’s custodial estates and the value that this will bring to the young people cannot be underestimated. Whilst it will support our overall ambitions to engage young people in positive activities and reduce reoffending, it will also encourage young people who may shy away from formal education to become involved in enrichment activities.  It will enable them to explore skills and talents where they may not yet have had the opportunity and improve their CV. The DofE will develop their team skills, nurture an ethos of giving back to their communities and, in turn, build their self-esteem.” 
Sally Garratt, Novus Director of Operations

Incentivising achievement

Incentivising achievement

There are many benefits to doing a DofE programme but standing out in a competitive job market to employers that openly state they are looking for rounded recruits with evidence of ‘soft skills’, is a big incentive to achieve a DofE Award. Step forward our DofE Skills for Work campaign, supported by British Gas, which gathers endorsements from employers across the UK that demonstrate just how much they value the work-ready skills and attributes the DofE fosters, such as team working, drive, resilience and communication, and welcome applications from DofE Award holders.

Whilst the campaign raises awareness of what a DofE Award holder can offer an employer so that an Award is valued during recruitment processes, it importantly feeds into our achievement strategic objective, providing participants with a compelling incentive to not give up, and achieve their Award.

“The DofE is a fantastic Charity that equips young people from all backgrounds with essential professional skills such as leadership and teamwork.”
Elleen Naughton
, MD UK & Ireland Google

View the endorsements here
Supporting young people

Supporting young people

We have continued with our strategy to work directly with more schools. In last year’s Annual Review, we noted that 1,269 different Licensed Organisations were offering DofE programmes to young people. In our Annual Report we state that there are 1,822 Licensed Organisations, although by early October we have 2,097 – an increase of some 65% over the period in question.

Supporting this many organisations to deliver DofE programmes has meant that our staff team has continued to grow, albeit at a proportionately slower rate than the number of Licensed Organisations. Recruitment has largely focused on operational staff, who directly support the DofE delivery network.

The Charity has continued to make significant investments in training these staff and providing them with the tools that they need to carry out their role.

See our list of Licensed Organisations and centres
Business intelligence

Business intelligence

In the last year we have invested in a new business intelligence solution that is more up to date and reliable. Through this we have been able to analyse data about young people doing their DofE programme and our Licensed Organisations more effectively and from different perspectives.

It has enabled us to identify opportunities to help young people complete their programmes as well as areas where DofE delivery can be developed further to give more young people a chance to participate. As a result, we have been able to focus our time, effort and resources where it really matters and where it can have the most positive impact.

“I wanted to say how fantastic the reporting suite is now! It’s so detailed but more important – easily accessible… I am awash with data and have learned loads in pulling together information.”
West Sussex County Council – Youth Services

Funding the DofE

Funding the DofE

In addition to the more traditional fundraising income and publicly available grants, we continue to develop a profitable commercial offering to the DofE network of participants and adults/volunteers.

A high proportion of commercial income comes from the 12 expedition brand licensees who offer kit advice and a range of field-tested Recommended Kit to participants and Leaders, who have access to a Cotswold Outdoor discount via the DofE Reward Card.  We also have over 30 wide-ranging brand partners who provide a royalty to the DofE for sales made to the DofE network, as well as an official DofE clothing range.  Engagement and relevance is key to developing the value of the commercial offering to both the network and the DofE, with new products and services a vital ingredient to enable this.

With all commercial income invoiced through ASL, the DofE’s trading arm, we maximise the contribution back to the DofE Charity, which supports the Charity in meeting its core strategic objectives.

See our full financial report here.

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