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%
For the year to 31 March 2016, 253,005 young people started their DofE Award. This was a 6% increase on the previous year. All regions and countries saw an increase in activity except for Wales where there was a slight decline due to unprecedented cuts in local authority funding.
Once again, across the UK our key challenge in the year has been to maintain activity where Local Authority funding for youth services has been withdrawn or reduced. We have had to step in and maintain activity before being able to initiate growth plans to engage more young people. This has required additional manpower resources and during the year we have continued our recruitment of additional Operations Officers and Operations Managers. The diverse range of Licensed Organisations we are now managing requires improved administration and Management by the Regional and UK teams. However, it also delivers a higher level of participation in new DLCs, as the school’s senior management focuses renewed effort and resource on exploiting the potential of the DofE to build a positive culture and sense of achievement for their pupils.
The coming year is the final year of our current strategic plan and we had hoped to be in a position to achieve our 300,000 objective. The impact of spending cuts felt, particularly in 2014 and reflected in our near static result last year, has put us a full year behind plan. This year has put us back on track but we will not make up the ground to achieve our 300,000 ambition in the coming year. We expect 270,000 young people to start their DofE in the coming year.
Our objective is that at least 50% of those young people starting a DofE programme should achieve their Award.
In 2015/16 a record 119,892 young people achieved their ambition of a DofE Award. We continue to make great progress towards our ambition and in some regions of the country are already exceeding it.
The eDofE online recording system is enabling us to identify where DofE programmes are not delivering success for their participants and focusing our attention on helping those centres of DofE delivery to improve.
Disadvantaged young people
In 2011 we estimated that 10% of our participants were young people from a ‘disadvantaged’ background. We set ourselves a target to increase this to 20% of our activity by 2016/17.
The introduction of eDofE and with it, the ability to identify individual young people, their location, school and a range of other attributes, means that we could establish a clear set of criteria for identifying ‘disadvantage’ and monitoring our delivery with that cohort of young people.
In 2015/16 a record 41,667 young people from a “disadvantaged” background participated in a DofE programme. This represented over 16% of our activity.
Our delivery network
More organisations, including schools, academies, colleges, local authorities, youth groups/clubs and young offender institutions are licensed to run the DofE. The number of DofE Licensed Organisations grew by 42% to 1,822 throughout the UK.
Similarly, the number of DofE centres operating under those licences grew to 13,218.
This expansion of our network provides the foundation for our further growth in delivery of the DofE to more young people.
Beyond our current strategic horizon
As the 2016/17 horizon of our current strategic plan approaches we have considered our strategic objectives beyond that horizon following consultation with our volunteer network staff and Trustees. We plan to launch new strategic objectives and a development plan in the autumn of 2016.