Appointment of a Director, Poppyscotland


Firstly, I would like to thank you for your interest in this role. Celebrating our centenary last year, Poppyscotland and the Royal British Legion are at an exciting and transformative stage in their journey together, steadfast in our commitment to providing the best support for the Armed Forces Community in Scotland, the UK and overseas for the next 100 years.  

We are introducing a more integrated operating model, bringing both organisations much closer together to ensure Poppyscotland continues to be a strong, credible brand and presence in Scotland, and to ensure beneficiaries in Scotland receive the same scale and quality of welfare services available across the UK and overseas. It will also ensure that we maximise our fundraising in Scotland, maximise the benefits of Poppyscotland being part of the RBL Group, and remove any inefficiency and duplication. 

We are at the very beginning of this journey: the high-level strategic principles and direction are set, and I’m really pleased that we are now at the point of recruiting to this key senior role to lead Poppyscotland and RBL through this transformational change programme. It won’t be easy balancing business as usual services and operations with organisational transformation and change, taking an established and loyal workforce through a change programme, or ensuring capacity and capability is there and in the right place in the Group; there any many deliverables that come with this role. You will need to be both tenacious and resilient, with a strong track record of successfully delivering transformation programmes and organisational change, as well as the ability to bring a workforce and stakeholders sensitively and inclusively on the journey.  

Poppyscotland and RBL are open, friendly, and dynamic places to work; they are equally steeped in tradition and supported by many who believe that tradition needs to be held at the heart of what we do. Navigating the change agenda is therefore one that requires diplomacy, patience, and the ability to understand that sometimes a less direct, longer journey to success is often better than the more direct route. 

My hope is that you will be excited about this role and inspired to come forward and submit an application. 

Antony Baines
RBL Executive Director Welfare and Operations; RBL Executive Director and Trustee – Poppyscotland

About us


Poppyscotland provides life-changing support to our Armed Forces community.  We reach out to those who have served, those still serving, and their families at times of crisis and need by offering vital, practical advice, assistance and funding.  We believe that those who serve or have served, whether regular or reserve, are deserving of our support to live life fully without disadvantage after service.  No veteran should live without the prospect of employment, good health and a home, and we all have a part to play in achieving this. 

Since 2011 Poppyscotland has been part of the Royal British Legion group of charities. Collectively we form the largest charity group supporting the Armed Forces community across the whole of the United Kingdom. We tailor our support to meet the individual needs of each beneficiary. As well as offering financial support, Poppyscotland also funds services in advice, employment, housing, mental health and mobility.  

Together with the Royal British Legion, Poppyscotland campaigns at a national and local government level to further the interests of our Armed Forces community and to address the disadvantage they often face. Through our policy development, research gathering and campaigning, we seek to inform policy makers and service providers about issues affecting Servicemen and women, veterans and their families and through that work, seek positive change. Recent campaign successes include the addition of a question on military service to Scotland’s Census in 2022. This will have a transformative effect on how future service provision is shaped and targeted. 

Poppyscotland is probably best known for running the iconic Scottish Poppy Appeal, which raises in excess of £2 million each year. This is only possible thanks to the tireless work of around 10,000 volunteers.  Our year-round programme of fundraising is extensive and includes mass participation events, regional fundraising, corporate partnerships and a hugely successful direct marketing programme. 

The Lady Haig Poppy Factory is a trading subsidiary of Poppyscotland as well as a distinct charity within the group. The Factory was established in 1926 and continues to employ a team of 35 veterans with disabilities who manufacture more than 2 million poppies, 15,000 wreaths and other remembrance items each year. The Poppy Factory has recently undergone a £4 million refurbishment which offers a more fitting environment for our veterans and safeguards its long-term future.  

We will also shortly launch a new learning experience at the Factory.  This will further enhance our popular learning and outreach programme, which reaches every school in Scotland and includes a wealth of thought-provoking classroom resources and our interactive micro-museum, Bud.  The Factory will host thousands of visitors each year who will learn more about the history of the poppy and the enduring relevance and importance of remembrance.  

Poppyscotland enjoys a highly visible and prominent role in supporting our Armed Forces community in Scotland, and the Director will lead the wide array of activities as well as the exciting programme of change. This will strengthen Poppyscotland’s position and ensure the charity is best placed to meet the evolving needs of veterans and their families in the years to come. 

Royal British Legion 

The Vision of RBL is to bring together nations, communities and individuals to create better futures for our armed forces community and their families. The RBL is the nation’s largest Armed Forces charity, providing care and support to all members of the British Armed Forces past and present and their families. It is the national custodian of Remembrance and safeguards the Military Covenant between the nation and its Armed Forces. The RBL serves a community of around 4.2 million people with a diverse and complex set of needs, working both at scale and with individuals to provide support and to campaign on their behalf. The RBL is proud to be “the national Charity with a local footprint” helping veterans and society. 

One Legion – Strategy 

We were proud to mark our centenary last year, but we remain firmly focussed on our future. Our rich heritage and 100 years of experience supporting the Armed Forces community have built the strong foundations of an organisation that is fit for purpose and will continue to serve the community for the next 100 years. 

Throughout our history, the RBL has evolved and adapted, responding to the changing needs of the Armed Forces community and reflecting the modern-day society we play an important role in. To help ensure we are delivering the best service possible to those that need us, we have recently introduced our One Legion Strategy, bringing together everyone from across the Group to work towards the same ambition. Our focus is on putting the people who come to us for support at the heart of all that we do. 

Our vision is to create better futures for our Armed Forces community and their families, using our resources as effectively as we can to provide them with the very best care and support possible. We can only achieve this if we continuously challenge ourselves across all aspects of our operations from how we deliver our services, to how we work with partner organisations and others across our network to ensure people recognise us and understand what we do. 

To make One Legion a reality and to achieve our vision, we have the following five strategic priorities: 

  • Grow and nurture public support through awareness, education and participation. 
  • Understand and adapt to the needs of the Armed Forces community. 
  • Raise income to deliver integrated, sustainable and cost-effective services. 
  • Collaborate with our network of partners, members, volunteers, stakeholders, fundraisers and supporters. 
  • Live our values to attract and develop great people. 

The One Legion strategy provides us with a huge opportunity to transform our organisation and change how we work for the benefit of those we support and those who choose to support us, both now and in the future. 

RBL’s Activities 


We offer broad-ranging support, including advice and information through our telephone contact centre and online across the UK and Overseas, as well as through our care homes and specialist welfare services. RBL’s pioneering work in dementia care has received widespread recognition. Membership of the RBL through its local branches provides veterans and their families with a strong community; these communities also undertake vital fundraising for us. Poppyscotland and the RBL works collaboratively across the sector, sharing space and working through a national external grants programme through which other charities and community projects can apply for funding for causes within our remit. 

We also run the Battle Back Centre in Lilleshall. Established by the RBL in 2011 to support wounded and injured service personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, we aim to help ensure the best possible recovery for the Armed Forces community, whether it’s returning to duty or successfully transitioning to civilian life. As well as continuing to support wounded, injured and sick service personnel, more recently we have expanded our service with the introduction of wellbeing courses for veterans. 


RBL is the national custodian of Remembrance. Its role is to champion Remembrance, to promote its observance, encourage participation across our nation and to ensure that the torch is passed to future generations. We do this nationally through events such as the Festival of Remembrance and the march past at the Cenotaph. RBL’s members ensure the contribution and sacrifice of regiments, counties, towns, villages and families is marked locally, and fundraising plays a key part in enabling people to mark their remembrance individually through the Poppy Appeal. 

The RBL also owns the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, the nation’s year-round centre of remembrance and home of the powerful and moving Armed Forces Memorial. 


We are the leading campaigner for the Armed Forces community, with a strong record of achieving practical change for serving personnel, veterans and their families. Thanks to the Legion’s work, the Armed Forces Covenant was enshrined in legislation in 2011, and recent successes have included ensuring thousands of veterans do not have to give up their injury compensation to pay for social care, securing fair compensation for veterans suffering from asbestos-related cancer and ensuring all current and future Armed Forces widows are able to keep their military pensions for life if they remarry. 

Welfare Support

We provide a spectrum of services designed to meet the interests and needs of the Armed Forces community in the areas of financial, physical, and mental health, employment, housing, independent living and social support. We want to make sure that our beneficiaries are able to live with dignity, whether that is in their own home or one of our care homes. 

RBL is the largest dedicated care services provider in the military charity sector. It has six care homes, five of which provide specialist dementia care, offering short and long-term care to beneficiaries. The homes range in size from 52 to 90 bedrooms (approximately 475 in total). 

As well as introducing new and expanded ways of providing care, we have also introduced entirely new services in response to the increasingly complex needs of our community. These include Admiral Nurse Teams, who support the carers of those with dementia and provide independent living advice, supporting people to remain in their own homes. 

Corporate Teams 

Alongside our frontline services in Care, Welfare, Remembrance and Fundraising we have key corporate roles predominantly in our London hub but also across our regional hubs in Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester. Functions across Marketing, PR, Finance, Property, Legal, IT, Risk, Health & Safety and HR & OD. 

Case for change

As the largest armed forces charity, we hold a privileged position in the public eye, both for the work we do to support the large veteran community but also the trust we hold in safeguarding the legacy of Remembrance. It’s fair to say that internally there is a real pride by all of our staff, volunteers and members in the work which we do daily to make a difference across the Armed Forces community.  

We have been through a detailed review of our purpose and strategic goals over the last eighteen months. In a rapidly changing environment, a requirement for our future armed forces and a growing wish to remain ‘relevant’ in a world where so many competing and difficult challenges face society remains one of our key priorities. On this basis, we have set our stall out in the One Legion strategy. 

Poppyscotland and the RBL are and will remain great institutions, enjoyed a privileged position in Society. If we don’t take action to rise to this challenge, our impact and relevance will diminish over time. The respect that our reputation commands will reduce, and we’ll have missed a huge opportunity to be relevant 20 years from now. 

How we have been structured and worked in the past was relevant but is no longer sufficient. The needs of our beneficiaries are evolving, and their expectations are rising – higher levels of service, and new services are expected of us, so we must anticipate, innovate, and respond.. Our own workforce is changing too, in line with wider social change. This means that we have to work harder to make Poppyscotland and RBL great places to have a career in the charitable sector, with exciting opportunities for personal and professional growth. 

We are deeply ambitious, so we must be in a place where the objective challenge to the status quo is the norm, and where leaders are ambitious, restless about ways we can improve. In practice, this will mean creating an organisation that is equipped to deliver strong performance and strategic change, and we aim to do this by combining clarity about goals with the right people, systems, and ways of working to achieve them. 

As part of the development of the One Legion strategy, a full review has been conducted to understand how RBL operates as a Group and the how well its subsidiaries are integrated to deliver on the ambitions we have mapped out for the future.  

The New Operating Model 

Introducing a new model that maximises Poppyscotland’s presence, brand, campaigning and position in Scottish society is equally as important as being efficient and bringing parity in service. A balanced approach that strengthens the good, fills gaps in provision and removes unnecessary duplication is needed. 

Operating Poppyscotland as a standalone independent charity limits the benefits of being part of the RBL Group and its ability to provide the same breadth, scale and quality of welfare support available in the rest of the UK. It is also an inefficient model, duplicating many functions in place across the RBL Group, creating inefficiencies, inconsistency and duplication in senior management, governance, support functions, service delivery and the ability to fundraise. 

The RBL Board of Trustees have approved a strategy that will improve the experience of all its ‘customers’, presenting a consistent and coherent ‘One Legion’ with strategically agreed standards, services and tone of voice, regardless of how they contact us, where from or what for. Operating Poppyscotland as an independent charity does not align with this ambition. 

The Trustees have approved that a different, more integrated operating model is implemented, bringing both organisations together to achieve the following objectives: 

  • Ensure Poppyscotland is a strong, credible brand and presence in Scotland
  • Ensure beneficiaries in Scotland receive the same scale and quality of welfare services
  • Maximise fundraising net contribution in Scotland
  • Maximises the benefits of being part of the RBL Group – quality, scale and expertise
  • Removes inefficiency and duplication

To achieve these objectives, the business activities have grouped into three broad headings: 

  • Activities managed directly and delivered by Poppyscotland staff, in Scotland.
  • Activities directed/managed by RBL, locally delivered by teams in Scotland with Poppyscotland branding.
  • Activities managed and delivered by RBL Group resources. 

To achieve this, our first step is recruiting to a new role – Director of Poppyscotland to lead the transition and transformation work as Programme Sponsor, and to manage business as usual. In addition to this important role, a change programme will be designed, scoped and managed, supported by RBL Transformation Office (TMO). We anticipate that the programme will take up to 24 months in total, allowing a phased approach to the transition.  

The programme will include undertaking detailed activity analysis, preparing recipient business areas in RBL to receive Poppyscotland functions/teams, developing business benefits for realisation and the transition work itself. The detailed change programme to implement these changes will become a part of the One Legion Strategy programme, overseen by the RBL Executive Board. 

The role

Director, Poppyscotland

Job reference:

Job Title:                    Director, Poppyscotland

Reporting To:            Royal British Legion Director of Welfare and Operations

Role Purpose:

Working with senior colleagues in RBL and the Poppyscotland senior management team, you will lead a significant two-year change programme, transforming Poppyscotland, and its subsidy charity, The Lady Haig Poppy Factory by introducing a new operating model that will integrate and align it with The Royal British Legion Group’s operating model and strategy.  Critical success factors will include successful implementation of the new operating model, protection of the brand and reputation during the transition, continuation of ‘business as usual’, ensuring front facing support services are not disrupted, and that staff and internal teams are fully engaged, supported and understand the changes throughout the programme.

Given its trusted position in Scotland, you will need to understand and advocate at the highest levels of Scottish Government and strategic networks to ensure Poppyscotland and the transformation are well understood and supported.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Accountable senior person in Poppyscotland, responsible for the successful delivery of the change programme, performance and continuity of business-as-usual activities and ensuring Poppyscotland retains and builds on its brand and reputation in Scotland with key audiences and stakeholders.
  • Supported by the RBL Transformation Office and a Programme Manager, you will develop and lead the Change programme to implement a new approved operating model, that delivers the best services possible for the Armed Forces community in Scotland, by ensuring that environmental and geographical considerations of Scotland are always considered. You will demonstrate this by close collaboration and appropriate and timely communication with Royal British Legion staff and Poppyscotland staff, volunteers and supporters.
  • Deliver the Change programme within an agreed timescale, providing written reports and updates to the Programme Board, RBL Executive and the Boards of Trustees on progress, challenges, risks and opportunities that will arise as the Change programme progresses.
  • Develop and lead the Poppyscotland and Lady Haig Poppy Factory staffs to ensure they are supported to deliver business as usual services and activities, including, but not limited to welfare, fundraising, public policy discussion and advocacy, poppy production and all related marketing, HR and finance services during this period of change.
  • Develop and maintain close working relationships with key external stakeholders in government, charity and statutory and other relevant bodies, including ministers, Scottish parliamentarians, senior civil servants, advisers and other elected representatives.
  • Support and facilitate the Poppyscotland Chairman and Board of Trustees to fulfil their duties as Trustees of a regulated Charity in Scotland, in particular ensuring meetings are well prepared in advance, reports written and distributed in a timely manner and accurate records maintained.

Job Description:

  • Represent the interests of Poppyscotland and the Armed Forces community on external committees, working groups and bodies in government and the charity sector and in engagement with external stakeholders
  • Have responsibility for and oversee the consolidated Poppyscotland and Lady Haig Poppy Factory operating and Change programme budgets.
  • Lead, manage and recruit heads of department staff to deliver on objectives and ensure that opportunities for personal development are identified.
  • As a member of Royal British Legion’s senior leadership team, contribute to the organisational strategy and the development of activities and projects across the Group and continue the process of raising awareness of the work undertaken in Scotland to colleagues within the Group.
  • Work with the Legal team to ensure that Poppyscotland complies with all relevant legal and regulatory requirements concerning charity operations in Scotland.

This job description reflects the current scope of duties and responsibilities of the role.  The post holder may be asked, and is expected, to undertake any other duties commensurate to the grade of the post.  As duties and responsibilities change and develop, this job description will be reviewed and may be subject to amendment.

To work in accordance with The Royal British Legion Group shared values of Service; Collaboration; Passion; Excellence; Valuing our people which underpins the fundamental beliefs and qualities of who we are and what we do. General:

  • To implement the Equal Opportunities Policy and champion Diversity and Inclusion into your daily activities.
  • To be responsible for your own health and safety and that of your colleagues, in accordance with the Health & Safety at Work Act (1974) and relevant EC Directives, including reporting any health and safety hazard immediately you become aware of it.
  • To work in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulations and Data Protection Act 2018; to ensure the correct reporting of data breaches, any changes to the processing of personal data which require a Privacy Impact Assessment and any requests under the Individual Rights provisions are reported to the Legion Data Protection Officer.
  • It is clear that due to the nature of the role, the postholder will have access to material which is sensitive and confidential. It is a condition of their contract of employment that they ensure that no confidential material is leaked to unauthorised members of staff or other unauthorised party.
  • Royal British Legion is an equal opportunities employer and positively encourages applications from suitably qualified and eligible candidates regardless of sex, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, religion or belief, marital status, or pregnancy and maternity. Any hire is to work in accordance with the Equality Act (2010).

Person Specification:

Degree level education or equivalent experience gained through working at a senior level within relevant services / sector E Interview/Assessment/Application
Seasoned leader with extensive experience gained at a senior level in an organisation of similar scale E Interview/Assessment/Application
Demonstrable extensive experience of leading, managing and developing large scale transformation and change programmes E Interview/Assessment/Application
Experience of organisational governance and working directly to the Board of Trustees E Interview/Assessment/Application
Financial literacy and commercial acumen, with experience of managing budgets up to £5m. E Interview/Assessment/Application
Experience of Risk Management E Interview/Assessment/Application
Proven record in building and maintaining external relationships and operational and strategic partnerships E Interview/Assessment/Application
In-depth knowledge and experience of the Statutory and Legal Framework within which Poppyscotland operates in Scotland E Interview/Assessment/Application
A good understanding of the UK Armed Forces and Veterans welfare organisations D Interview/Assessment/Application
Track record in successfully dealing with the media D Interview/Assessment/Application

We support and serve. We are compassionate. We provide great customer care to all the people who come into contact with us. We are accountable and act with integrity.


We value working together and with partners to achieve shared goals. Through strong communication and support, we build trust with each other and treat everyone with respect and honesty.


We are passionate about our role and contribution. With a positive outlook we are resilient and committed to our work.


We strive to be the best we can. We are effective and efficient. We are bold. We are open to new ideas and approaches, challenge each constructively and are willing to learn.

Valuing our People

We support, encourage and provide opportunities for all our people – ensuring we recognise and value everyone’s contribution.

Effective Communicator with the ability to work closely with passionate, engaged and committed stakeholders at all levels E Interview/Assessment/Application
Ability to translate strategy into reality through creation of effective operational plans E Interview/Assessment/Application
Strong leadership and change management skills E Interview/Assessment/Application
Ability to understand, monitor and oversee complex programmes of work across organisation. E Interview/Assessment/Application
High level of emotional intelligence E Interview/Assessment/Application
Highly articulate with excellent written and verbal communication skills. E Interview/Assessment/Application
Commitment to diversity and demonstrable success in driving and embedding inclusion across previous change projects E Interview/Assessment/Application
IT literate – able to confidently use MS Office (Word, Excel, Teams, Powerpoint, Outlook) and other business systems (Finance/HR etc..) E Interview/Assessment/Application

Terms of appointment

Salary: c£80k

Pension: Up to 10% employer contribution

Holiday entitlement: 28 days (+ 8 bank holidays)

Role type: Permanent

Location: Edinburgh with an option for hybrid working

For more information about The Royal British Legion’s benefits packages, please see here.

How to apply

Anderson Quigley is acting as an advisor to The Royal British Legion. An executive search process is being carried out by Anderson Quigley in addition to the public advertisement.

The closing date for applications is noon on Monday 28 March.

Applications should consist of:

  • A full CV including the names and addresses of two referees. Referees will not be approached until the final stages and not without prior permission from candidates
  • Please complete a covering letter of no more than 2 sides of A4 which answers the following questions:
    • What motivates you to join Poppyscotland and why will you be successful?
    • What will you bring of yourself, your life experience and your perspective to the organisation?
  • Please complete the following online Equal Opportunity Monitoring Form.

Completed applications should be uploaded at using the AQ reference number AQ1373.

Should you wish to discuss the role in strict confidence, please contact our advising consultants at Anderson Quigley: Rob Hilyer on +44(0)7719 325 771 or Elyse Turner-Pearce on +44 (0)7808 648 559.


Closing date: noon on Monday 28 March
Longlisting: Thursday 30 March
Preliminary interviews with AQ: Monday 11 April – Thursday 14 April
Shortlisting: Tuesday 19 April
Final Panel Interviews: Wednesday 27 April & Thursday 28 April