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June 30, 2015

UK centre puts a number of social value

UK centre puts a number of social value

Awarding of public contracts tends to be based on financial concerns, first and foremost. But in the UK, a law was passed in 2013 to give greater weight to environmental and social concerns in public spending decisions.

A key challenge in implementing the Social Value Act has been finding an objective way to assess these less tangible values. Enter the Citizenship Enterprise and Governance (CCEG), a key partner in the UK’s SEiSMiC National Network. An applied research centre based at the University of Northampton Business School, CCEG focuses on social impact measurement, and has developed a social value (SV) metric that assesses the relationship between planet, people and profit. Similar to a corporation’s financial performance earnings (P/E) ratio, a financial social earnings (S/E) ratio now puts social value on a level playing field.

The S/E ratio is applied by CCEG’s trading arm, SERATIO, which has applied this assessment methodology to a portfolio of public sector procurement projects worth GBP 1.5 billion. SERATIO’s pilot website is an effort to secure between 10 and 20 percent additional value from contracts. Its reach spans central and local government. Separately, SERATIO is being approached to provide an social value metric that better reflects core values and strengthens shared value.

Originally targeted at corporations, the concept of SV is rapidly moving upstream to measure personal value (PV) and downstream to regions, countries and communities with common interests. Using the same financial model, CCEG now measures PV of individuals to challenge how they contribute to their communities, be they next door or thousands of miles away. CCEG’s approach can make a profound social impact.

CCEG views SEISMIC is a key strategic partner in disseminating its approach across Europe. CCEG Director Olinga Ta’eed, a professor at Northampton, chairs the EU SEISMIC Transnational Working Group on Social Value launched in Brussels in 2014. Together with SEiSMiC, CCET has developed two major channels to promote SV:

  • The Social Value and Intangibles World Conference Series 2015-16. The inaugural conference was held 30 March 2015 at the Crystal in London and drew more than 60 international participants. It explored the SV legal framework, leadership, compliance and measurement. Two more conferences are planned in 2015 in Prague and New York.
  • Social Value and Intangibles Review. The first international edition was published in April 2015. Two further editions are planned this year and the call for articles is out for a second edition due in September.