A complete first for the rail industry: social value tool built for purpose

A complete first for the rail industry: social value tool built for purpose

Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) has created a social value tool with Loop to enable the industry to effectively monitor and measure the social value of projects and day-to-day operations, as well as to guide investment decisions. A partnership that was formed as part of a progressive evolution of the Common Social Impact Framework for Rail.

Going above and beyond providing standard software, this bespoke online tool has been tailored to the British rail industry for its own activities and outcomes.


The Rail Social Value Tool

A complete first for the rail industry, the partnership led to the development of the Rail Social Value Tool (RSVT), which was co-funded by Network Rail and tested by a group of early adopters before fully launching in 2022. The tool, now available to be used by the wider industry, can be demonstrated on request by both the Loop and RSSB teams.

Over 30 industry specific users are fully onboarded and using the tool to forecast and report on the social value of their activity, with access to more than 500 metrics. The bespoke database was developed in collaboration with both RSSB, Network Rail and a range of industry experts to make all metrics truly fit-for-purpose through additions and changes to existing metrics to suit operations.

All users are provided with full customer support for the tool, which is also delivered in collaboration with RSSB to ensure the expertise needed is on hand for any query.


The bespoke elements

The RSVT is able to measure hundreds of benefits, including across the natural environment, people and communities, inclusivity, cultural heritage, and distribution of opportunities.

Among elements implemented specifically for the rail sector, users have the option to add in members of their supply chain as users, who can input their own information along the chain to provide a much more complete picture and promote collaboration in the social value process.

Meanwhile, development made sure that functions reflect the way the rail industry operates. For example, we changed the typical reporting period from quarterly to a four-weekly model, to ensure that the function provides usable insights and operational benefits to users.

Examining geographical regions, the option to input station specific information is also included. This allows much more targeted measurement, such as on work between stations, in comparison to previously just being at a geographical level with counties and cities.

The metrics system also allows for negative indicators, ensuring that rail operators are able to get a fuller accurate picture of their impacts, rather than simply totting up the positive ones.

And the multiple deprivations function measures the impacts in areas classed as deprived, where the impacts of bringing new stations, more frequent service or work will be felt much more.



“Following the launch of the Rail Social Value Tool in 2022, we’ve been pleased with the outcome of the software and our continued development of it, alongside Loop and Network Rail, to make it an even greater user-friendly experience.

“The collaborative approach and effort – using each organisation’s strengths – has resulted in a tool that is really fit for what the rail industry needs. Loop’s commitment to developing properly bespoke functions and metrics is a big contributing factor as to why the tool has been well received by users.”

Andrew Littlejohns, IT Programme Manager at the Rail Safety and Standards Board.


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