The true Social Value of the third sector

Since the introduction of the Social Value Act the measurement and demonstration of value has been much debated.  At the heart of that debate is a belief that the worth of an activity or service should be measured not just on financial grounds, but on the wider benefits it brings to society.

There is no authoritative list of what these benefits may be – the Act is deliberately flexible because social value is best approached by considering each local context and needs. For example, in one area youth unemployment might be a serious concern, whilst in another health inequalities might be more pressing.  

However putting it into practice is another matter. What factors should be considered when we decide what social value is? How should they be measured? And how do we balance one set of social benefits, such as jobs for local people, against another, such as savings to the public purse.  Many third sector organisations create social value as part of ‘business as usual’ but not all of us are capturing or publishing the great impact we are having. 

Here at 3SC we want to shout about the great work you are doing and are looking to build a library of case studies, highlighting the true social value our partners and supply chain are creating.  These will be used as part of our on-going publicity and within our business development activity to highlight why using the third sector to public deliver services gives commissioners a far greater impact that simply the deliverables required within a contract.

We are keen to hear how your organisations currently define and measure social value. Contact Heidi Stewart, Business Development Director Heidi.stewart@3SC.org