Boundless by CSMA

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Boundless by CSMA is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Highlighting best practice
Carl Fillery, CEO
Boundless hospitality at
The Eastbourne Airshow
Boundless has done much to elevate and inspire people in
the public sector, helping them enjoy their free time and
remain happy and motivated throughout their career.
Since 2016, following a rebrand, it has evolved its offering
to appeal to a new generation of public-sector workers. The
organisation has attracted a younger demographic while
staying loyal to its longstanding core membership, keeping
abreast of the cultural shift towards valuing experiences over
material possessions and focusing on what people want from
their recreational benefits. CEO Carl Fillery walks us through
his revamped approach to achieving a more satisfying work-life
balance within the civil service.
At Boundless, our purpose is all about good times. We are committed to helping
civil servants and public-sector workers get the most out of their free time. We
are a small voice to some but, as a membership organisation, we have 220,000
members that need to be heard.
People are at the heart of everything we do. From our members to our employees,
we put our people first, and creating value is key to the success of our organisation.
We believe in, and focus on, physical and mental wellbeing and are in support of all
policies trying to tackle this important subject. But we also see a vast gap between
intention and reality – in our opinion, deliverables in the wellbeing space are not
all as a result of budget and can often contradict policy. Over the years, we have
developed our offering to address this for our membership base.
»CEO: Carl Fillery
»Established in 1923
»Located in Brighton with a
further seven sites in the UK
»Services: Membership
association committed to
helping civil servants and
public-sector workers get the
most out of their free time by
providing exciting experiences,
member events, a range of
savings and things to do and
content to help inspire
»No. of employees: 332
»Members receive additional
discounts at our own hotels,
cottages and holiday parks
across the UK
Boundless by CSMA
We are FCA-regulated and are
currently working towards ISO 27001
accreditation by 2020. In order to
reach our widespread membership,
we communicate through a variety
of mediums. These encompass
a magazine with a readership of
298,000 people, ongoing awareness
campaigns, sponsorship, events
for members and prospective
members, and e-comms. We also run
community-based initiatives, such as
groups and committees, councils and
an AGM, and members often take
part in focus groups and member
panels. Workplace-based workshops
and our “Boundless Champions”
scheme help support advocacy for the
We are working to a clear three-year
strategy which aims to ensure our
continued stability, with a specific
focus on growth and value. We hope
that this can be achieved by remaining
relevant, and through investment
in staff, projects and diversification.
This plan also falls under part of our
structured ten-year strategy.
Achieving our strategic plans has
created a new stability within our
organisation, with stronger financial
performances enabling greater choice
and a robust outlook for the future.
All of this is underpinned by our
vision to champion the discovery of a
more extraordinary life. We hope that
our partner sites will grow, and our
members will spread the word. Our
team will continue to seek relevant and
creative ideas and we’ll never lose sight
of the importance of re-energising
those who do amazing things behind
the scenes in society.
Increasing success
Our recent success has been uplifting
for our team and we put this down
to a number of new initiatives that
have given us renewed purpose.
The rebrand ensures our continued
relevance to our target market – we
undertook extensive research in order
build a more detailed understanding
of our current and future members.
Based on that insight, we moved to
develop a new website to improve user
experience and tweaked the magazine
to include more of what our audience
wanted. It was enlightening to discover
that, in our digital world, the magazine
was still highly valued by all ages.
Through change and progression,
we’ve managed to maintain a
strong renewal rate. Adjusting our
organisational culture and placing
wellbeing as the primary focus for our
people and members has seen our
numbers grow.
We have been careful to protect the
exclusivity of eligibility, meaning only
civil service and public-sector workers
can join our network. This allows us to
build a community spirit and connect
directly with our core audience.
There are common themes that our
members share and membership
allows them a chance to get together
and meet other members in the
same position – this is evidenced by
a 35 per cent increase in volunteer
numbers during 2018. We have over
500 volunteers involved in organising
and hosting more than 750 events Boundless members
enjoying event
Champion the
discovery of a
Highlighting best practice
every year. To further improve our
membership experience, we have
adopted new operational models and
invested in our internal capability,
security, services and products. This
includes developing new leisure sites
and investing in complementary
businesses that support our strategy.
Wellbeing and work-life balance
are key to our audience and it’s not
enough for employers to only look
after their people at work. Forward-
thinking businesses care about their
people on an individual basis, both
in and out of the workplace. After
becoming CEO in 2014, I implemented
a three-year turnaround strategy that
we successfully achieved through
diversification and ensuring relevance
throughout the business. The strength
of our strategy and working practices
means we have choice and are not
afraid to fail. We have made some
bold moves and, while not everything
worked, we learned from each
challenge or success and have become
better, more focused and leaner as
Challenges faced and overcome
Despite our successes, our growth
has not come without challenges.
Our membership represents an
ageing population in the UK. The civil
service and public sector is changing
– there are fewer people working
in one role for their whole lives and
this is affecting their decision to
become members. Similarly, there are
increasingly competing priorities within
the public sector, with younger people
pushing for cultural change.
Within the organisation, we know
that we need to improve our digital
capabilities to appeal to a changing
workforce, something we are
continually working towards. While
making these changes we need to
find a balance between efficiency
and sustainability – developing the
organisation so we are able to carefully
respond to legislative changes and
remaining agile and flexible so we can
respond effectively to change. We are
working in a competitive marketplace,
with a number of rival discount and
benefits providers that work on a wide
scale, so we cannot afford to become
affected by politicalvolatility.
Ensuring our members and customers
receive the best value and quality
products is highly importance to
us and we will diversify our income
streams and open up new lines of
business to achieve this. We are using
our experience and expertise to work
with other businesses with strategic
alignment, shared values and purpose,
to help create value for their customers
or members. We have achieved
three years of profitability and future
forecasts are on track. Historically
consistent losses have turned into
increases in underlying profit, while
turnover has grown over the last three
years with expected results for 2018
showing substantial increases. This
gives us great hope for the future.
Wellbeing and
balance are
key to our
Members dining under
the wings of Concorde –
Boundless Events

This article was sponsored by Boundless by CSMA. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.