BSBI Strategy 2021

BSBI Strategic Plan 2021-24

Several years of consultations, workshops and debates across the Society have fed into the development of a new BSBI Organisational Strategy – our plan for what we want to achieve over the coming years and how we will do it. The BSBI Strategic Plan 2021-24 is now available to view or download. Below we summarise the three goals we plan to deliver:

  1. Building a diverse community of botanists to sustain and develop the skill base. This will be achieved through expanding opportunities for existing and new botanists to enhance their skills or simply get more enjoyment out of looking at wild flowers. We will also aim to attract more people, including those from diverse backgrounds, to explore botany, including in urban areas.
  2. Providing high quality, impartial data and interpretation for research and to help address biodiversity loss and climate change. This will be achieved through supporting volunteers to gather scientifically valuable botanical data and providing quality recording mechanisms and data storage. We will make this information available in support of work looking at changes to our flora and the conservation of important plant populations.
  3. Disseminating information to drive a passion for plants. This will be achieved through providing more ways to participate in our activities and growing and improving our print and electronic methods of communication and information provision. We will enhance our website and increase our contact with external organisations and the media.

We’ll be making a few changes to our committee structures and decision-making systems to help us deliver the strategy – find out more in our Governance Plan 2020.

The FAQ on the right sets out some of the questions you may have and aims to answer them but if you have specific questions that aren’t addressed in the FAQ then rest assured, you can always contact our President Lynne Farrell: [email protected]

One thing that won’t change is that our volunteer members will always remain at the heart of everything we do: BSBI is entirely reliant on, and extremely grateful for, the volunteer effort, time and skills received from all our members and supporters. With the new Strategy we will be better placed to provide our volunteers with all the necessary tools and functions to support them so that together we can deliver our goals and fulfil BSBI’s potential.

In a changing world, our wild plants have never been more in need of the support, understanding and appreciation that BSBI is uniquely placed to provide. Since our inception in 1836, BSBI has repeatedly re-focused and re-structured so that we could meet the demands of the times. Now it is time for us to take another step forward so we are ready to meet future challenges.

Frequently Asked Questions

As part of the Resilience Project, we sought to specify BSBI’s future activities but importantly, to determine how we would deliver them. For this, we knew we needed strong, clear and accountable governance structures and procedures that followed best practise for a charity of our size. The consultants supporting us with the Strategy also supported us developing a Governance Action Plan, which set out the changes we needed to make over several years. By implementing these we will become a more resilient and robust organisation, better able to take decisions, be accountable to our volunteers, members and staff and to deliver our Strategy.

By streamlining and defining more clearly our structures and processes, we are making sure the Society is better able to be agile and adapt quickly to an often rapidly changing external environment. A key is improving decision-making processes and a governance handbook, to be developed and made available to all working on BSBI’s behalf, will set out how this is done to end the many and various uncertainties that currently exist.

By defining more clearly roles and responsibilities for various strands of activity, BSBI will become better able to support our many volunteers but also act as the responsible employer it should be.

The Strategy will inform an annual operational plan that ensures that the Board, committees and staff are all working on the same priorities and prevent us being deflected from that. Committees and staff will be asked to contribute annually to production of the plan and to report progress against it. Whilst the broad aims and priorities are already set, this approach ensures control of activity and detail remains with the volunteers and staff who are responsible for delivering it, therefore ensuring activity is appropriate and motivation is maintained. Also, knowing what each committee is working on and their anticipated timescales and milestones for completing activity will enable better cross-committee working and communication.

No- not at all. We are hugely indebted to the work of our Standing Committees. They will continue to do all the important things that are central to delivering our Strategy, with support from a nominated staff member. The restructure is needed in order to more clearly link their work to one of the three shared Goals set out in the Strategy, so as a whole we are all travelling in the same direction and will know whether we’re on course to arrive there. The Committees will work more closely with the Board, meaning they can feed in to the decision-making process more directly, allowing decisions to be taken more quickly and information shared more easily.

The President is the most senior voluntary officer role in the Society. They are the go-to person for members’ concerns and an external spokesperson for the organisation. The current President and several past Presidents have played a full part in the development of the Strategy and Governance Action Plan, and will continue to input in to defining the President’s role. They will be an Ex Officio member of all committees and the Board. The role is likely to be focused on solving internal questions and in working with staff to raise BSBI’s profile externally.

We are committed to holding one joint meeting of the Board, Standing and Country committees and staff each year with a focus on the Strategy and any changes to our operational planning. This will give us an excellent opportunity to bring all elements of BSBI together to share ideas, experiences and continue planning to deliver our goals.

In addition, a nominated Trustee will attend one of each of the Country Committee meetings to ensure communication is maintained throughout the year and to support committees in delivering high standard activities always in pursuit of the three Goals. Staff and Board will strive to maintain our country officers’ posts to work with their Committees and other volunteers.

Since 2014, BSBI’s Council has been an advisory committee rather than a decision-making body. Around half (~7) of the members of Council were previously appointed to that position via nomination by members at our AGM. The other half attended due to the voluntary position they held or the standing or country committee they represented. In contrast, ALL Trustees (up to 12) are nominated by the membership at an AGM: this means that members have a direct say in who represents them and takes decisions on their behalf. With closer links between Trustees and standing and country committees, who represent the many interests and geographies in BSBI, it will be easier for the view of our membership to be reflected and represented in decision making.

Should trustees ever need to be prompted or challenged on anything, there are various opportunities for members to do this: through the President; via the standing and country committee meetings; at the annual cross committee, staff and trustee workshop; and of course at the AGM.

Trustees and Standing and Country Committees will all continue to be encouraged to proactively seek the involvement of members in their work, including through advertising vacancies in relevant BSBI membership mailings. Country-level AGMs will ensure that the members continue to have a say on who represents them at country-level.

The Strategy is full of priorities that we want to deliver. As well as continuing our fantastic, established streams of work around recording, publishing and organising events, there are ambitions to deliver more training, to have more influence using our data and in developing a higher profile for BSBI. All these are developments from the things we have been doing in recent years and crucially, all the changes set out in both the Strategy and our Governance Action Plan, particularly in regards decision-making, are derived from the suggestions and comments received from members and volunteers.

The Board has developed an Income Diversity Strategy to improve the resilience of BSBI’s finances and help us improve our ability to do the things we have set out in the Strategy. Implementing this requires creating a new staff post. We will also develop a Diversity and Inclusion policy to ensure the society attracts the members and talents from the widest spectrum across society and a Communications Strategy that supports all in communicating on BSBI’s behalf.

A number of changes are being made to the way the Board organises its business to improve decision-making as described in the Governance Action Plan. It will use more video conferencing in the future which will also help save carbon, time and cost. Individual Board members will take a particular interest in one of the Standing or Country committees to improve communications.

Work carried out towards the new Strategy was only possible thanks to funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund under its Resilient Heritage initiative, which made it possible for us to work with the acclaimed Centre for Charity Effectiveness, Cass Business School.