Accounting for Social Value in Scrutiny
Social value is a concept that has gained significant awareness in recent years. Legislation in the UK has increased its prominence, and research shows that many local authorities are considering it when they make their commissioning and procurement decisions.
This is really great news – and also aligns with an increasing global recognition and convergence in how we measure social value. And whilst Social Value UK as part of this national and global movement are helping to lead this progress, we also recognise that there is still work to be done.
We need to ensure that we all have a shared understanding of what social value is, as well as importantly appreciating why we would want to measure social value. In summary, social value allows us to understand the relative importance of changes to peoples’ lives – and this allows us to measure and communicate how our work has affected the lives of the people we aim to serve, but it can do so much more than this.
Measuring social value is just the start – if we stop there, we are essentially saying that the amount of value that we are creating in peoples’ lives is as much as we can possibly do. So, rather than just measuring, we should be accounting for social value – this means managing and even maximising the amount of value that is created with the resources we have.
When we account for financial value, we always looks for ways to improve things – to reduce costs and increase financial returns. This is also how we need to look at social value, and the Principles of Social Value and the key Impact Questions allow us to do just that.
Join Social Value UK and the Centre for Governance and Scrutiny to examine how we can account for social value – allowing local authorities to better measure, demonstrate, and increase the amount of social value that is created for people and organisations in your local area. Scrutiny can provide an excellent opportunity to ensure social value is considered and accounted for in local authorities. Councillors and officers can play a key role in raising social value questions, which may be particularly important in the context of the financial challenges faced currently faced by many councils.