Pre the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 social value was commonly referred to at worst “the fluffy stuff” and at best Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR. It was a nice, additional thing for businesses to do, usually scoring a few additional points in the tendering process and often generating good PR for the businesses involved.

Social Value is now taking centre stage whether you are a public body following legislation to explicitly evaluate social impact during procurement, you are an investor reporting on your ESG (Environmental and Social Governance), you are an organisation embedding the UN Sustainable Development Goals, you are a business answering tender submissions meeting the social, economic and environmental needs of your stakeholders or you are simply a business looking to grow by embedding a culture of sustainability and social value.


There isn’t one, agreed and consistent definition of social value; and nor should there be.

Social Value is about people. It is the positive and negative impact your actions have on people.

Social Value is a skills and talent crisis that will only grow; the health, wellbeing and productivity of our workforce; the diverse thinking, inclusion and success of a business, the loyalty of a community; the opportunity for new business and innovation to thrive; and the legacy we create and leave in a community.

Social Value is not just about charity, philanthropy or “doing good” it's about the value you, your business and your industry creates for our environment, our economy and our society.  All decisions and actions have an impact; following a set of principles, processes and questions allows you to generate the most value for your investment.


Setting the Scene

Creating and enabling good social value requires continuous consideration of some key principles.  Adopting these key principles into your business or project strategy, can ensure that social value opportunities are realised and the tangible positive outcomes achieved.

  • Full project lifecycle (conception to closure)
  • Social Value is the total direct and indirect impact of your actions; we think holistically.
  • Quality (outcomes) not quantity (outputs)
  • Social Value is the long term positive and negative impact of your actions; we don’t tick boxes.
  • Measure change (positive and negative)
  • Social Value is the additional change that occurs due to your actions; we don’t arrogantly assume it's all because of us.


Designing the Strategy

We enable you to answer the following questions.  Informing your social value strategy, delivery, measurement and culture.

  1. Where do we have enough influence to achieve the most positive change for our internal and external stakeholders?
  2. What interventions do we deliver to manifest that change?
  3. What resources are required to deliver our interventions?
  4. Where are resources best placed to deliver our interventions?
  5. How do we monitor and measure the change that our interventions create?



Social Value is the positive and negative economic, environmental and social impact your actions have on the health and wellbeing of your employees, your customers and stakeholders, and the communities within which you work.

We breakdown your social value into 3 areas of influence:

  • Operational Value - your internal operations and actions
  • Project/Product Value - your project, product or service led actions
  • External Value - your culture and legacy

What does success look like? It’s a culture of empathy within your organisation that impacts on your stakeholders, your customers and the communities within which you work.

  • Value-based decision making at all levels within your organisation
  • A sense of ownership and pride
  • Brand, service and organisational loyalty

social value in OUR VIEW


Meeting the current needs of the industry and the communities in which we work; improving the quality of life for generations to come.

Social Value is currently disjointed, output driven and incomparable.

Social value is predominantly focussed on employment (new jobs), skills (apprenticeships, training) and enterprise (local supply chains).  Social value themes covered across policy are focussed on the mitigation of negative impacts, concentrate on outputs and tend not to consider diversity, inclusion and accessibility to opportunity.

The monitoring and measurement of social value achievements is predominantly based on outputs i.e. number of jobs, number of hours volunteering etc. Measuring social value in financial terms is still relatively new to the market and uses outputs to inform the financial calculations.  There is a lack of consistency within both the public and private sectors in how social value is measured and evidenced, this means it is difficult to show “what good looks like.”

Although these issues create some concern, what is more important is that these issues have come about as more businesses strive to deliver and illustrate their social value; which is good news.  The better news is that we are always collaborating, sharing and pushing to support industries to continually evolve and improve.

Social Value will be collaborative, evaluated & outcome driven

Social value has become the focus of many businesses and institutions that have all come to the same headline conclusions; social value needs to be:

  • Designed, planned and delivered throughout the full project lifecycle.
  • Evaluated and articulated in a consistent manner
  • Focussed on long term outcomes, not short-term outputs

What does success look like? It’s a culture of empathy within your organisation that impacts on your stakeholders, your customers and the communities within which you work.

  • Value-based decision making at all levels within your organisation
  • A sense of ownership and pride
  • Brand, service and organisational loyalty

The focus has also been driven by current societal demands from the growing inequality between wealth and poverty to an increase in, and awareness of, mental and hidden illnesses.

These demands have moved those within the social value sector to design strategies and their ongoing interventions that achieve long term sustainable outcomes for communities and individuals.  This has led to an approach to redefine value to include the long term positive and negative social impact of projects, products and services.  Using socio-economic financial forecasts during the options appraisal process to inform value-based decisions.

Social Value could be objective, measured & comparable

As market expectations have grown, the social value sector and market collaborators have begun to focus on “What’s next?”  The societal demands will only grow as the digital movement continues to exclude disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, the economic prosperity continues to favour those with financial stability and the immediate 24/7 communication cycle of information intensifies civic and cultural ownership and pride.

The future direction of travel across policy, strategy and assessment includes:

  • Articulation across multiple Sustainability/Social Value Frameworks (Triple Bottom Line, Social Value Themes, Local Authority Plans/Strategies, 5 Capitals, ESG, UN SDGs) to better understand the interconnected impact of interventions.
  • Social Impact Assessments to consider the positive and negative social impacts, based on local demands and needs, moving towards value-based decisions.
  • Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) Outcomes becoming a reportable and measurable part of value-based private investment.
  • Digital tools to better understand local individual requirements/needs and the change that social interventions have generated for individuals
  • A movement from socio-economic assessment, which measure social aspects of economic prosperity, towards an evaluation of health and wellbeing.
  • Transparent and Open Data published by both the private and public sector to better understand and visualise community needs, measure and evidence real change in a community, quantify social value results and increase accountability.
Read our blog to see how we put this into practice with our clients
Learn about the Articulation diagram




fter falling in love with design, I spent

over ten years owning my craft. I have collaborated with various clients to develop groundbreaking websites, social media campaigns, and branding experiences that their customers love. I have gained invaluable experience process working with brands like Soylent, Acme, and Sportize.

Emerson Visual School
Psychology, MSc
Psychology, BSc
London Design School
Gobelins Graduate
High School Diploma
Storytelling in advertising
Web design excellence
Independent studio of the year
Development excellence
Commercial of the year
Brand redesign of the year