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Social Value

For many businesses, understanding, monitoring and reporting social impacts is a key aspect of their ‘license to operate’.

Managing and measuring benefits to people

Social value is not a new concept. Companies have been generating it for many years, and procurers have sought to achieve it by asking for ‘community benefits’. Since the arrival of the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012, the concept has a specific name and increased profile.

Download Social Value in the Built Environment - Industry Update


“Social” is one of the three dimensions of sustainability, alongside “economic” and “environmental”.  There are areas of overlap between the three; so social value is also related to environmental and / or economic issues.

It’s a subject that many companies have addressed for years, badged as ‘community benefit’, ‘social sustainability’ or ‘corporate social responsibility’. Now focus is increasingly shifting onto how to best monitor and report net social impacts in addition to monetising them to calculate social value.

Social value topics

There are four key topics within social value that the School considers.

Training & Skills

By ensuring that people have the necessary skills and training…

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Supplier Diversity

Providing free and fair opportunities for all businesses to bid…

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Encouraging the use of local people and those from diverse…

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social value

Being a good neighbour - How companies in the built…

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Social Value: What does it mean to us?

Case study – VINCI Facilities’ approach to social value and examples of initiatives and programmes delivered with customers Peabody and Sandwell Council.

Social value: What does it mean to us?

Key social value resources

Here are a selection of key social value resources that cover areas such as communities, wellbeing, skills and training and employment.

Sustainability Strategy
Social Value - Community
5S Workplace Organisation
Social Value - Training and Skills
Waste and Resource Efficiency

Social Value by Design

Download Social Value and Design of the Built Environment


Designers and architects have been largely excluded from discussions around social value. Their decisions, however, have a significant impact on the social value that can be generated during the construction and operation of assets.

The Supply Chain Sustainability School convened a special interest group that collaborated on a ground-breaking document, “Social Value and Design of the Built Environment”. This identifies how social value can be optimised through each stage of the RIBA Plan of Works, and rail and road equivalents. Tools and case studies are provided to trigger ideas and discussion.

Two documents have been written by the School with the input of our Partners, specifically for designers, architects and others (e.g. within client organisations) who influence design.



“Social value is a key element of what the UK rail industry brings to the country. It is increasingly important that we develop a way of measuring this, in terms of reporting value to local stakeholders, the communities in which we work, and our customers. And also, to industry funders such as the DfT.”
Anthony Perret, head of RSSB’s sustainable development program

RSSB Common Social Impact Framework for Rail

A framework to measure and report the social impacts of the UK’s rail industry was developed by the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) in partnership with Action Sustainability, Arup, Simetrica and a working group of rail stakeholders, including representatives of the Department for Transport (DfT), Association of Community Rail Partnerships, Network Rail, HS2 Ltd, Skanska and Abellio.

This Common Social Impact Framework (CSIF) for Rail aims to provide a common, consistent basis for understanding and measuring social impacts by:

  • Identifying the 10 key social impacts of rail
  • Providing a library of goals, indicators, metrics and monetised values for each impact (some of which require a licence prior to use), from which stakeholders can select measures to best report both the positive (e.g. training of apprentices) and negative (e.g. increased noise and air pollution) impacts of activities
  • Outlining approaches that can be used for qualitative reporting

The CSIF draws from existing social impact research, literature, tools and approaches and is tailored to the bespoke needs of the rail sector. It’s applicable across the whole life of franchises, projects and programmes, but it is not intended that any stakeholder should use all the measures and qualitative approaches

Peter Ives, Sustainability Manager for Skanska, has used the CSIF on the Wessex Alliance project to engage the wider project team and called the framework “an opportunity to start reporting social value on a much more consistent basis.”

Find out more:

Email Liz Holford for more information.

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