Prove Your Worth – Measuring Social Value

Social Value can loosely be defined as the wider benefits offered to a community by a programme, organisation or intervention, beyond the satisfactory performance of the products or services they are providing. These benefits can have an impact upon the well-being of individuals, communities and the environment. An example of a company offering social value is a catering company who provide on the contracts they are given but also make a commitment to train, qualify and employ local unemployed young people. As well as providing a service, they are adding value to the community by building up the skills base of young people. The idea of social value is, then, to maximise the benefits that can be created in the commissioning or procurement of a service or product.

 

“By commissioning iSE to help us ‘Prove our Worth’ we can make it clear to our clients that we understand their needs and the issues and challenges they face”.

The Social Value Act became law in March 2012 and will take force in January 2013, it introduces a statutory requirement for local authorities, alongside other public bodies, to consider economic, social and environmental well-being in public procurement. There has been considerable ministerial support for public authorities to apply the legislation as widely as possible. ‘Added Social Value’ is intrinsic to the Social Enterprise model and recognition of this in commissioning and procurement will serve to better position social businesses in the competitive market place. The introduction of the Social Value Act to the commissioning process will hopefully empower organisations across the sector to use their ‘added value’ to ‘added advantage’ when competing for contracts.

The Social Value Act became law in March 2012 and will take force in January 2013.

The shift toward a commissioning system that factors in Social Value brings with it the necessity for measuring tools and techniques that calculate this value. This is where iSE enter the picture; we have developed a service to help demonstrate the difference you make. We have already delivered Social Value technical assistance to consortia across the UK as a part of a contract for the National Offender Management Service Co Financing Organisation (NOMS CO). The content of this support was tailored to suit consortia needs and ranged from providing frameworks for social value measurements to running workshops on the different methodologies for measurement and the impact of the Social Value Act. Heidi Harris, Director, Harris and Harris Accountancy services CIC says, “By commissioning iSE to help us ‘Prove our Worth’ we can make it clear to our clients that we understand their needs and the issues and challenges they face”.

Once the Social Value Act comes into action more and more organisations will have to prove their social value on a regular basis and will need training to do so. Hopefully, with our growing experience in the area we will be able to help facilitate the transformational effects that are so clearly latent within the bill.