• Alastair Cooper
  • 3 minutes
  • 05/05/2022

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation: Winner of the Voluntary or Third Sector Leadership Award 2022

Globally, the Duke of Edinburgh has had an enormous impact on millions of young people since its inception in 1956. However, over the years, the positive impacts on young people, adult mentors, and wider society have only been shown through anecdotal evidence. 

It was only through social value research, that they could gather quantitative evidence which demonstrates the impacts of the awards. 

The Foundation’s current research methodology looks at their impact on young people, adult mentors, and wider society.  

Young people experience social value throughout their participation in the awards. The award equips them with skills, encourages regular physical activity, and requires regular volunteering. But it also helps with confidence, agency, social inclusion, provides relief from depression and anxiety and also physical health benefits.  

Meanwhile adult mentors involved in the award gain value through volunteering, increased physical activity, and learn new skills by completing training, which sometimes even translates to increased earnings.  

More broadly, society benefits through the hours young people spend volunteering for local charitable and community causes during their Voluntary Service section and Gold Residential Projects. 

The Award’s current methodology tracks the following measurable impacts of the Award, noted by beneficiary. There are plans to expand this further to include more impact areas, including improved environmental impact and reduced reoffending rates. 

The Foundation partners with Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) in their social value journey. The follow PwC’s Total Impact Measurement and Management Framework.  

Their surveys are designed to strengthen the understanding of the outcomes experienced by beneficiaries and to establish deadweight, attribution, and drop-off rates. Operational statistics collated by The Foundation and National Operators are also used.  

These stats include the number of young people who complete Bronze, Silver or Gold Awards, and the number of adults who volunteer locally to deliver the Award. Where the Foundation, Operators, or the surveys are unable to provide sufficient data, relevant proxy data is identified from the literature. Desk-based research is also conducted to express impacts in monetary terms.  

And now, the data.

The global social value estimation is the product of results from the ten countries1 where Award Operators ran surveys in 2020 and 2021 with their Award participants (n=2,500), adults who support Award delivery (n=1,115), and Award alumni (n=1,059). PwC developed a benefits-transfer method for The Foundation that allowed the application of these survey results to similar countries. Combined with country/territory-level economic and social data, as well as the Award’s operational statistics for 2020 for all the countries/territories that the Award operates in, this has resulted in an estimated £400 million in present social value generated due to the Award globally, through the 129,119 Awards completed by young people in 2020.  

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