The organisations in the partnership spend money on goods and services each year. The decisions they make on how and where to spend their money has a huge impact on the local economy, the environment and society as a whole.
Why is OIEP looking at social value?
The Social Value Act means all public sector organisations must consider social value when making decisions. That means decisions to award contracts, lease buildings, or issue grants, can be influenced by whether the recipient will positively impact on local social and environmental outcomes. This creates a huge opportunity to put people and planet at the heart of the local economy. You can find out more about the Social Value Act here.
What we're doing
Partners across the OIEP share a commitment to valuing social and environmental impact but making these kinds of changes can be challenging and may go against the grain of many years of established practice, raising a number of questions for the organisation:
- “What do we even mean by social value?”
- “What are the things we want to value locally?”
- “What is the right balance between economic value, value for money, and social/environmental value?”
- “How can we transparently and fairly make decisions that compare different types of social value (aka comparing apples and oranges)?”
- “How do we know which organisations can add social value?”
- “How should we engage them?”
- “How can we measure the impact of decisions and prove the social value added?”
By bringing together major local buyers, suppliers, socially purposeful businesses, community leaders, and local organisers, we're building a local movement, sharing best practice and working through the challenges together to maximise the reach of social value in the local economy. This is a coalition of the willing so get in touch if you want to know more.Get in touch with the OIEP to find out more
why should my organisation be interested?
Positively impacting on social outcomes is not just the ‘right thing to do’. Understanding and prioritising social value in your business brings many other direct benefits:
Gain a competitive advantage: increasingly customers want to buy from organisations that 'do good'. Having a clear social value offer will help win future contracts.
Future proofing: developing your social and environmental credentials will keep you ahead of legislative changes.
Recruitment: staff want to work in a place that lives by its values.
Retention: research shows that staff are more committed and tend to stay in jobs where they feel they are making a wider contribution.
Resilience: organisations with clearly aligned social purpose have been shown to be more resilient in crisis.
Access to finance and grants: having a social (as well as economic) purpose and clearly articulated 'social value' offer can give your organisation access to funding and financing opportunities that aren't available to other businesses.
Our working group has identified several challenges, on both the demand and supply side: organisations with the buying power, as well as those who can potentially add social value if they were to be included in the supply chains.
- Awareness of how procurement and supply chains can provide benefits to all and the ways in which this can be effectively achieved.
- Barriers within organisations that prevent ambition from making it happen, including lack of top-level policy (for non-public sector bodies), conflicting priorities, lack of highly directed guidance with evidence of impact, and complex processes.
- Measuring and monitoring the value and impact.
- The need for support and resources to: find appropriate organisations to buy from and supply to; access information and signposting, including inspirational case studies on peers; seek direct support on the topic including brokerage, challenges, questions etc.
what can i/we do?
Your organisation is already generating lots of social and environmental impact, both positive and negative. That could be as a result of the way people are employed, the wages they're paid, how you relate to your customers or service users, the local causes you're involved in or supporting, the materials and energy you use, and/or how company is owned, uses its profits/surplus, and makes decisions.
There are therefore myriad ways to increase the social and environmental value your organisation generates.
Suppliers can generate more social value by opening up job opportunities to different audiences, giving support to local projects and causes, or thinking about the structure and governance of your organisation to make it more inclusive, regenerative, or distributive by design.
Large buyers can adopt policies and practices that encourage positive market behaviours, creating opportunities for social pioneers and establishing fertile ground for a flourishing social economy.
Wherever you are in your social value journey you'll find resources and tools that can help you take the next step.Use our guide to creating social value as a BuyerUse our guide to creating social value as a supplier
Find examples of organisations who are making positive change, or programmes your organisation can get involved in.