What is social value?

Doing good business is about far more than just making money. 

Governments, policy makers and the public are putting pressure on businesses to do more good.

And that means creating social value.

A young man and an older man looking at each other and laughing, they are outside in front of a brick wall and the young man is wearing a cap.

How does social value impact communities?

Organisations that commit to providing social value change communities for the better. 

Leaders deploy a wide range of actions which make a real difference to people’s lives. This might include awarding contracts to local suppliers, donating to public realm projects, providing staff to volunteer for good causes, hiring apprentices, or giving prisoners work experience for a second chance at life.  

Why is it important?

The UK government now requires that social value is evaluated as part of the tender process for most of its biggest outsourcing contracts – some of which are worth billions of pounds. Under the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012, when scoring bids, government awards up to 10% of marks for social value – a margin that can make the difference between success and failure.

Local councils are adopting similar approaches not only in their own procurement but also in planning. And the United Nations has created 17 Sustainable Development Goals for tackling the world’s biggest challenges like poverty, inequality, and climate change.

Game-changing stuff – and it’s all included in the way we measure and track social value for the public and private sectors. Because no organisation can afford to get it wrong.

Social value – the new ESG?

In the past, most businesses used Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria to measure performance in key business areas. This approach prioritised mitigating negative risks. 

Meanwhile, social value measures the positive value businesses create for the economy, communities, and society. Businesses can use these insights to tell a powerful brand story.

Three people riding London bikes along a canal.
Three people riding London bikes along a canal.

How can companies get involved?

The team at Social Value Portal is ready to support businesses through the whole process of creating social value – from writing a business case and strategy, to designing the project plan, priorities, and communications.

You’ll also get access to the National Themes, Outcomes and Measures (National TOMs) – our gold-standard framework for measuring and reporting on social value.

Metrics are built using ‘proxy’ values, informed by data from respected sources like the Office for National Statistics. It means you can quantify how much value you’re adding to communities.

Stay ahead in a fast-changing world – by delivering real community benefits, as well as a profit.

A park scene in the autumn with red and yellow leaves and children playing.
A park scene in the autumn with red and yellow leaves and children playing.