How does the National Themes Outcomes and Measures (TOMs) Framework for social value measurement account for social value and relate to other measurement solutions? Our Head of Research, Agnese Mizia explains.
In order to answer both questions, we at the Social Value Portal have worked with Social Value UK over the past month to map out how the National TOMs applies each of the Principles of Social Value – the internationally recognised set of social accounting principles that lay the foundations for social value measurement and reporting. The Principles can then be used as the main dimensions across which different social value solutions can be compared and assessed. You can read a full report of this analysis in the recently launched Paper: Exploring the alignment of the Social Value Principles and the National TOMs Framework developed by The Social Value Portal
We are happy to report that we have found a strong alignment between the Principles and the National TOMs. The starting point for the National TOMs Framework was extensive consultation with over 35 separate stakeholders over a period of 18 months including public, voluntary and private sector organisations that reflected the need to prioritise and report the delivery of social value through specific policy areas and 5 key themes. There was also a clear desire for a minimum reporting framework that would allow organisations to compare their performance and would ensure a level playing field. For this reason, organisations using the TOMs start their analysis from a predefined minimum reporting list of 17 outcomes and 35 measures. In the spirit of the Principles, the National TOMs Framework also recognises that while a minimum reporting list is a good starting point for an organisation that is only beginning its social value journey, a more mature report of social value should be created by engaging with stakeholders. This is why the National TOMs features a prioritisation function to incorporate the relative importance of different outcome to stakeholders and inform decision making, or a ‘Social Innovation’ theme where users are encouraged to include additional outcomes defined by stakeholders.
Embedding the Principles Further
As we design the National TOMs 2019 with the National Social Value Taskforce to reflect the updated priorities of local authorities across the country, we will continue to align our approach with the Social Value Principles: from ensuring transparency of measurement and evidence-based reporting, to including mechanisms to avoid over-claiming. We are also working with Social Value UK to develop the methodology to facilitate further engagement with stakeholder including the design of “sector plug-ins” of measures that are specific to certain stakeholder groups and the directly engagement of different stakeholder groups to gauge what real value has been created for them.
Almost seven months after the launch, over 1500 organisations have downloaded the National TOMs. As adoption of this Framework increases, it is becoming more and more important that we continue to embed feedback from TOMs users and S.R.O.I. or other social value measurement practitioners on how it can be extended to ensure the Principles of Social Value are applied throughout in a greater variety of contexts.