Two things happened in the past month or so to help shift Social Value further into the mainstream of  impact evaluation and procurement.

Firstly although quite unheralded the Government published a new procurement note PPN 06/20 which relates to Taking Account of Social Value in the Award of Central Government Contracts, this might sound a bit dry, but its potentially a big deal requiring all contracts let by Government to properly consider Social Value

“Social value should be explicitly evaluated in all central government procurement, where the requirements are related and proportionate to the subject-matter of the contract, rather than just ‘considered’ as currently required under the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012”

Further a minimum 10% weighting should be applied to social value as part of the evaluation process.  The document sets out a framework of impact areas that should be considered in line with the social value requirements:

Covid 19 – Help local communities to manage and recover from the impact of COVID-19

Tackling economic inequality:

  • Create new businesses, new jobs and new skills
  • Increase supply chain resilience and capacity

Fighting climate change – Effective stewardship of the environment

Equal opportunity

  • Reduce the disability employment gap
  • Tackle workforce inequality


  • Improve health and wellbeing
  • Improve community integration

Taken together with the recommendations from the report by Danny Kruger MP Levelling up our communities: proposals for a new social covenant’ in relation to the Building Back Better agenda provides a real opportunity to fully place social impact at the centre of rebalancing our economy.

Secondly BSI published their new standard BS8590 Social value — Understanding and enhancing — Guide.  While there are already well established conventions for measuring social value, this gives further credibility in terms of the publication of a national standard in the form of guidance which provides a structure to acquire and inform:

  • relevant insights will be gained regarding social value;
  •  options to enhance social value can be considered; and
  • decisions regarding how to enhance social value can be made.

Amongst the issues considered is that of organisational culture – perhaps an unusual subject, but critical if social return is to be fully embraced with the standard saying:

“Social value requires a shift in mindset regarding what the organization defines as “value”. Therefore,
it goes to the very heart of an organization’s purpose, identity and definition of success. As such it
requires inspiring leadership from all levels.”

I could not agree more!

Further the guidance alongside providing instruction in social value measurement focus on improvement – absolutely – there’s no point measuring it if you don’t intend to learn and do something with it!  The Guide provides a good starting point for those new to Social Value and want to embrace reliable and robust means of establishing and improving social return

While we face many challenges particularly in supporting the most vulnerable from the economic and social impacts of the crisis we have been in and all face the need to adapt to face the even greater challenge of climate change these initiatives help towards better means of measuring impact and adjusting priorities for the future