Research and Development

Research plans in the Salvation Army

Research and Development is a strategic service within The Salvation Army whose goal is to inform, inspire and enable transformational front-line mission.

In the process, we want to generate knowledge and learning that can be shared to improve the development and effectiveness of our mission.

What we do

  • We provide high quality, in-depth research to enable Salvation Army leaders and frontline staff to develop services in line with government policies and identified needs.
  • We provide specialist advice on new programme initiatives or development of new programme facilities across the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. We work with various internal and external partners, including our churches, community services, local authority and city councils, and many others.


The Research team includes specialisms in impact measurement, action research and knowledge management.

While most of the output is for internal use only the Research team also:

  • Produces bulletins and briefings
  • Maintains links with universities, and ecumenical and third sector research groups
  • Publishes research
  • Collaborates on external research projects
  • Co-ordinates ethical approval for external researchers

If you are a researcher and are interested in carrying out research on The Salvation Army please contact us for details of our application process.

Salvation Army mission and COVID-19

During 2020, our team undertook a range of research activities, including a literature review, over 500 phone survey interviews, an online survey and PESTLE[S] exercise, to understand how COVID-19 was affecting our mission and how it would influence us in reimagining our mission going forward. An executive summary and the literature review are available here. For further information, please contact us.






The Development Team are responsible for ensuring The Salvation Army develops church, social and community work strategies, programmes and facilities appropriate to meeting the changing needs of society.

Working alongside Corps (local churches), Divisions and Mission Units we aim to support the development of projects and suitable application of missional thinking. Development is the innovation, introduction and improvement of mission services, utilising investigative and research findings and driven by healthy church principles. Our work is informed through Christian reflection and the movement of the Holy Spirit, focussing on supporting the most vulnerable and marginalised in our local communities.

Development Managers journey with local expressions of the Salvation Army, Division and THQ to help develop projects for sustainable, strategic and integrated mission solutions. We build from Missional Journals (strategy documents developed by corps and centres) and using a collaborative and consultative approach to identify appropriate solutions to missional objectives.

Major Development Projects 

Every TSA development requiring a building solution that has programme changes which is above the divisional financial limit requires R&D involvement.  

R&D supports the local expression of the Salvation Army in relation to mission through their building changes:

  • Journey with vision-casting and co-ordinating support through multi-stakeholder groups
  • Serve as a critical friend of faith embedding God’s word in all of our work
  • Ensure proposals are feasible and in line with governance and charitable objectives
  • Explore new builds, extensions, redevelopments, acquisitions or other non-building related projects


Director of Research & Development: Olly Thorp


About us

For over 150 years, The Salvation Army has been transforming lives at the heart of communities.

Our history

The Salvation Army has worked for over 150 years, transforming lives all over the UK.

Our leadership

Meet the Territorial Leaders of The Salvation Army in the UK and Ireland.

Our mission, vision and values

Learn more about the beliefs and values that drive us to keep helping people in need.