What is social value?

Social value is a way that we can understand the worth of changes to people’s lives.

Start by asking yourself this question; how would the people that are the focus of your work explain the most important results of your activities? Would it be your financial performance? Or is more likely that they would describe things such as having more confidence, being in better health, living in more appropriate housing, stopping harmful behaviours, or reducing their need for health and social care?

If changes to people’s lives like these are the results of your work, you are creating social value! But, can you explain how important these changes are to people?

By asking people what has changed in their lives, we can understand the results of our activities – and it is only my measuring these that we can really understand how much impact we are having on people’s lives.

For example, if you provide services to help people lead healthier lifestyles, are you only interested in the number of people you have worked with, or understanding how many become healthier as a result of your work? Of course both are important, but it is only by understanding the results of your work that you can be confident that what you are doing is working. Not only that, but by understanding how people have changed as a result of your work, we can also value the important effects on organisations such as the NHS and social services.

Social Value Cymru is part of a growing movement that recognises that we are able to place a value on such changes, and we can work with you to help you better understand, communicate and manage the social value of your work.

The third/voluntary sector creates amazing amounts of social value, but we aren’t always the best at demonstrating this – let’s change that and proudly tell the story of how our work creates meaningful changes in people’s lives and savings to organisations that would otherwise see an increase in demand for their services.

Recent legislation for the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act and Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act provides the opportunity for third-sector organisations to be recognised for the essential role they play in Wales and the value they create. Click here for more information on how social value can unlock the potential of the new legislation.

Social Value Cymru is an organisational member of Social Value UK - the UK’s leading organisation for social value and Social Return on Investment (SROI) information. Click here for more information.