The interest in social value in the world of development has risen dramatically in recent years, primarily driven by the introduction of The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012. This Act places a responsibility on relevant public sector organisations to consider social value in the awarding of service contracts, and this attitude is filtering through to the private sector. As Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive of UKGBC, describes -
“We are experiencing a momentous shift in our expectations of businesses, with organisations under increasing pressure to demonstrate their contribution to society. In the UK, this is being driven by higher standards of public procurement required by the Social Value Act, changing investor expectations and a growing recognition from businesses themselves of the added value inherent in making a positive contribution to society and the environment.”
Social value is difficult to define. It means different things to different people, and there are endless interpretations throughout the industry. Quantifying social value is equally challenging as it tries to capture the tangible and intangible consequences of development over a number of years. To us, social value is a key driver of why we do what we do. We like to talk about social value from the outset of each project with a range of key stakeholders, but most importantly with the community that will be most aware of the benefits of the development.
“Successful development must meet the evolving needs and aspirations of the ultimate customers – the people that use the places and spaces created. It should also deliver places that allow communities to thrive, and that protect and enhance our natural environment.”
We have partnered with Social Value Portal to help us demonstrate our corporate and project-specific social value, but also to identify opportunities to continue to improve. Whilst we are ahead of the pack, we can always do more, whether that is on a micro or macro scale. Watch this space.