Close this search box.
News & Insights

What is Social Value? (2024 Guide)

What is Social Value?

Social value delivery plays a crucially important part in compliance in construction projects, particularly with public sector bodies now being legally required to consider it when awarding contracts.

At its core, social value is about achieving measurable outcomes that will be beneficial for society and the local community. It looks at how projects can have a positive effect by bringing more access to services and opportunities within their local area, improving the quality of life for those in the surrounding areas.

Effective social value delivery provides both measurable and intangible benefits that create long-term social, economic and environmental benefits for a community.

Social value can be achieved in a variety of ways including job creation; increased education and training opportunities; improved environmental spaces and standards; and local spend.

These types of social value can also factor in the longer-term economic and social benefits a project will bring, such as improved infrastructure and green energy sources.

This post will look at why social value is important, the principles of social value and ways you can accurately and efficiently track social value delivery. Keep reading to learn more.

Why is social value important?

The concept of social value has long played a part in business practices, but it was in 2012 that the UK government adopted a new approach to procurement – known as Social Value Act (SVA) – which required public authorities to consider how they could secure additional outcomes through their purchasing activities. This act was updated in 2013 with more emphasis on measuring the social value created from contracts awarded by public sector bodies.

Under SVA, public sector bodies must now consider the social, economic and environmental outcomes of a contract when deciding who to award it to. This ensures that businesses awarded the contract deliver additional value for society all while managing the project’s costs.

This is why achieving social value is an integral aspect of sustainable construction projects. It ensures that the project benefits not just the immediate area, but can also help to generate wider positive impacts to society and local communities in the longer term.

By investing in social value you can improve the relationships between your organisation and its stakeholders, which can be beneficial for future investments as well as improving public perception.

Ultimately, incorporating social value into construction projects demonstrates a commitment to creating positive social change and a better quality of life for everyone involved.

Principles of social value

Since we are asking the question ‘What is social value?‘, the best way to dissect the answer is by looking at the eight key social value principles.

Social value is an evolving concept, but the fundamental principles of the ways to achieve social value remain unchanged. By implementing effective social value strategies in your projects, you can ensure that both immediate and ongoing benefits are achieved by all parties involved.

  1. Firstly, stakeholders must be involved in the process and final decision. These could be employees, customers or even the wider community.
  2. Next, you must understand the changes, give evidence as to how your solution will create social value and identify positive and negative aspects of this solution.
  3. Decisions on preferences must be considered, with different resources used to meet the stakeholder preferences.
  4. Boundaries must be established in relation to the material used, with a fair and true picture of the project being created based on stakeholder decisions.
  5. You must not over-claim on the project.
  6. Transparency is key, with honest and accurate reports often being demonstrated to stakeholders.
  7. Ensure relevant verification is in place to keep in line with the established decisions.
  8. Be responsive with your solution, ensuring that it is timely and appropriate.

Benefits of social value

You may be wondering how social value can boost business, but the benefits are actually far-reaching.

From an environmental perspective, incorporating social value into construction projects can lead to improved energy efficiency, reduced waste and increased access to sustainable materials. In turn, this reduces carbon footprints and contributes positively to local areas.

In terms of economic impacts, a focus on social value can lead to more jobs being created, with previously under-utilised resources being taken advantage of effectively. Additionally, it encourages collaboration between public authorities and local communities which often leads to better decision-making processes and outcomes.

Social value also has a clear positive effect on businesses themselves as it helps them build trust with their stakeholders all while improving their reputation within the industry and wider community.

How to set social value targets

Now we’ve answered the question of ‘What is social value?‘, let’s look at how you can set effective social value targets.

The first step is to identify key stakeholders and understand their preferences in terms of the project. This will help you determine which resources should be used in order to meet these needs as well as what outcomes are expected from the solution.

It’s also important to consider any potential barriers that may prevent a successful outcome, such as budget constraints or limited access to resources and materials. Once this information has been gathered, it’s time to set realistic targets for your project.

These targets must provide measurable outcomes that are beneficial to society and explain how each resource selected will contribute towards the social value of the project and the wider community.

There is no denying that setting and tracking social value targets can be a time-consuming and often a complicated process. Fortunately, with Compliance Chain you can easily monitor and track the social value of your construction projects, as well as ensuring that all stakeholders are kept up to date with progress.

By signing up as a Compliance Chain buyer, you can track your progress in real time, set and lock social value targets, and easily showcase evidence to stakeholders all at the click of a button.

Discover the power of social value today and start meeting your targets with Compliance Chain.

Share this article:

Sign Up to our newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter and receive the latest updates
and news from Compliance chain.

    our brochures

    Learn more about our solutions by downloading our brochure.