Doing Business and Providing Services for Social Value

In Salford we want to make ours a Social Value City. This means seeking commitment around Social Value from the many private sector businesses  and the wide variety of service providers in the city, aiming to maximise the benefit from all money invested in Salford. To do this, we want to embed a Social Value approach into every organisation, no matter what its size or sector.

Q: What does Social Value look like for a business or provider?

A: Social Value looks beyond price alone to the collective benefit to a community and the wider world. It includes things such as happiness, well-being, inclusion, equality, employment and environment.
There are two types of Social Value that you can create as a provider:

  • core Social Value – the direct well-being impacts of a service or contract – such as offering apprenticeships alongside a building contract
  • added Social Value – the value the organisation offers over and above the service, goods or works – such as social development, local employment, ethical purchasing, low energy use, low waste and emissions

An obvious way for businesses to demonstrate their commitment to Social Value in Salford is to;

  1. Putting Salford first: creating training and employment opportunities for Salford people, particularly those facing greatest disadvantage
  2. Buying in Salford: looking to purchase Salford goods and services at every practicable opportunity
  3. Setting the standard: promoting the adoption of the best possible working practices and conditions, such as working towards the introduction of a living wage (see download at end of page), a commitment to eradicating the illegal practice of blacklisting and opposing the use of zero-hour contracts

Q: Is my organisation doing Social Value already?

A: Your organisation will probably already be creating Social Value but may not realise, measure or maximise it. It may also be creating unintended Social Value that was never planned or predicted.
In the early days, your organisation should at least be able to describe the likely social, environmental and economic impact of its project / service and the reasoning why you think these will occur. You should also have considered how this would be an improvement on the current situation.
Salford has developed a Starting Out in Social Value in Salford Checklist from the target areas of its City Plan, which enables your organisation to find out how much Social Value you are already creating.

Q: Where do I start with Social Value?

A: The policy driver for Social Value in Salford is the City Plan 2013-16, which contains wellbeing aspirations for the city. The Starting Out in Social Value in Salford Checklist was developed from the priority areas of the City Plan and allows you to target the generation of Social Value to that which will connect with need and demand in the city. It can also be re-used at a later date for you to check whether you have made any improvements in the Social Value that you are generating.
Also, it’s good to talk to others who are trying to embed a Social Value approach within their organisation, so that you can share tips and ideas… and use this toolkit, there are plenty of ideas and resources aimed at supporting organisations of all sizes to ‘Be Social’.

Q: How can I maximise my score for Social Value in the tender process?

A: Your organisation will need to demonstrate its Social Value in tender responses for public sector contracts. You can achieve this by embedding, monitoring and reporting Social Value within your organisational structure and everyday processes.
To maximise its score on Social Value, your organisation should:

  • have systematic data collection systems for monitoring social, environmental and economic value – you can then quote real numbers as well as examples
  • be able to explain the impact that it has observed and evidenced so far, as well as link the Social Value achieved with what your organisation does
  • use the evidence that it has collected to improve the social, environmental and economic value that it achieves
  • might want to have an independent evaluation or audit which validates the social, environmental and economic value that has been observed / generated

If you do not yet have all of this in place, make sure that you can evidence the progress that your organisation has made towards maximising Social Value to date.
Finally, don’t forget the basics: they sound obvious, but many organisations fail to do them!

  • read all instructions and documents carefully
  • understand and answer each and every question asked
  • reference or index any supporting information, if permitted

Q: Do I have to change the way my organisation works to do Social Value?

A: Your organisation needs to evidence how and when it has created Social Value outcomes and impact. It is as important to gather the views of people outside your organisation (such as clients and customers) on these as it is to gather data internally.
Your organisation should already be starting to gather evidence to demonstrate its Social Value impact. It should also interpret the evidence collected and published; and then think about its direction of travel to improve its Social Value impact.
Your organisation may have to adapt its internal processes to ensure that you can fully capture and demonstrate its Social Value. Once you have decided what measures to use, you will need systems in place to capture the data as you go along. These systems need only be proportionate to the size of your organisation.
Examples include Outcomes Stars, Social Impact Tracker, Social Accounting and Audit or Social Return on Investment.

Q: How can we embed Social Value into our organisation?

A: Social Value can be generated from the work that you do – and would be an ‘outcome’ of your services. But it also can be gained from the way that you run your organisation.

3 Top Tips for embedding Social Value include:

  1. Having your ‘management’ behind you – and gives you permission to do more around Social Value. Use some of the case studies in this toolkit to show your Board or managers what others are doing. Salford City Council and NHS Salford Clinical Commissioning Group have described their role and responsibilities around Social Value in their respective constitutions – consider reviewing your own governance documents to make clear how you will approach social value.
  2. Look for opportunities in what you do already to increase your Social Value – are there interested people in your workforce, are you preparing a new strategy or commissioning specification, designing a new service or investigating new markets? If everyone does a little bit towards Social Value, then together we can make a big impact!
  3. Be clear about your Social Value outcomes – understanding the benefits of the Social Value that you might be able to create, can help you convince others that it is a good idea.

Q: Do I need formal training to “do” Social Value?

A: There are lots of places to learn about Social Value and many of them are referenced in this Toolkit. You don’t need formal training, but having people with an interest and some knowledge within your organisation will make it much easier to embed a Social Value approach. Leadership is important if you are going to change things!

Useful Resources for Business:

Salford Employment Standards Charter

Starting Out in Social Value in Salford Checklist

SCC Procurement guidance around Social Value

Social Value Hub

Proving and Improving

Useful Resources for Service Providers:

Inspiring and Creating Social Value in Blackpool, Blackpool Council (2013)

Inspiring and Creating Social Value in Croydon, Croydon Council (date unknown)