Half of councils and housing associations say social value has led to savings

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
25 June 2014

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26 June 2014 | Will Green

Just over half of local authorities and housing associations approached in a survey say implementing social value has resulted in cost saving.

The poll also found 71 per cent of organisations found the act had led to better service delivery and eight in 10 said it had improved their image.

However the report, commissioned by Social Enterprise UK (SEUK), PwC, the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), Wates Group and Orbit Group, also found 37 per cent of respondents struggled to define social value and a third were not considering it across all services.

More than half of respondents said measurement was the main barrier to implementation and two-thirds said they would like further guidance in this area.

Peter Holbrook, chief executive of SEUK, said: “The findings in this report are very good news and clearly demonstrate that integrating social value can bring a wide range of benefits to local authorities and housing associations and the communities in which they operate. It shows social value can be viewed as a strategy for innovation and cost savings, not just as the creation of positive social outcomes or, at worst, compliance with the act.”

The report recommended organisations should:

•     Adopt a written policy and nominate a lead for social value

•     View social value as a route to innovation and cost savings

•     Integrate and consider social value across all services

•     Measure the social value being created

•     Work with and support social enterprises

Gavin Smart, director of policy and practice at the CIH, said: “This research shows that delivering social value leads to better services which are also value for money – it’s a win-win. Although the housing industry is already doing a lot to take advantage of the act, this research shows that we can and should be doing more, and that we could be doing more to measure the benefits effectively.”

The survey included 77 local authorities and 123 housing associations.

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