Social value has been on a transformative journey in the ten years since the Public Services (Social Value) Act came into force. It has evolved from a ‘nice to have’ for businesses to an essential part of many organisations’ operations as an important tactic ensure they are able monitoring and reporting on the impacts its actions create.
This forecasting, monitoring and reporting across multiple metrics is a complex task, and software systems hold the key to simplifying the process for any business. An easy-to-use system is able to do the heavy lifting on time intensive tasks, making focusing on social value much easier for people, teams and companies.
Spreadsheets and case reports are methods that can be used to track and monitor social value metrics, but these systems can easily become complicated and unclear. Multiple documents and communications routes open up the potential for information to be miscommunicated or missed.
In the digital age, having a system like our own to manage data all in one easy-to-access and central location ensures consistency for all parties involved, whether this be for recording or reviewing the information. It also opens up the opportunity to chart more robust and sophisticated metrics that truly suit any organisation’s social value needs and taking things beyond the basics.
While creating the opportunity for a more sophisticated approach to social value, a software platform also creates much more accessibility for users, particularly for those who may be on the earlier stages of their journey. Rather than using complex Excel sheets that require a certain level of spreadsheet literacy to work effectively, software systems like our own are designed specifically to be user-friendly, easy to use, and easy to manage.
This simplicity of use can also ensure the same process is followed every time, creating a reliable output that is a lot harder to achieve with alternative, more basic methods where steps can easily be forgotten or missed. This also means that it’s easier for organisations to report to stakeholders what actions have been completed and how exactly this was achieved.
From forecasting all the way through to evaluation, an end-to-end social value journey can be provided with our software. With our use of the National Social Value Standard and its 800 plus metrics, we are able to support clients with every manner of monitoring and reporting all the way through that journey.
For example, the main dashboard – where all activities across all projects are aggregated – helps our clients keep a close eye on the progress of their projects. This may be by seeing the ongoing total social value, or accumulating values against specific metrics relating to an operation or particular community output.
At the forecasting stage, details such as costs, start and end date, activity location and sector can be inputted, along with the metrics you’d like to track. These metrics can be tailored specifically towards any activity, covering examples across social, environmental and economic impacts, which through the National Social Value Standard are backed and researched by qualified economists.
On the metric detail page, a target value, and achieved output and value can be set and assessed for ongoing live projects. It is recommended that the data inputted is supported by evidence. For example, if the metric of 500 hours of volunteering has been achieved, providing confirmation to support this can help to enhance the report further.
The final stage of the software is the evaluation stage, where reports can easily be pulled together.
At a click of a button, reports can be created to showcase to stakeholders how the project is going and why it is having an impact. As well as incorporating this into any project reporting, clients are able to use this information to demonstrate the impact of their activities to stakeholders.
The report can also include the social value return on investment, monetised versus non-monetised metrics, and social impact breakdown. During this stage, users can also look on a map at what the social value impact is for your projects in each region and subregion.
Reporting on social value is of increasing importance as consumers are expecting more from organisations than ever before, whether it’s a social value commitment or a pledge for a certain number of volunteer hours, and this will only continue to grow in the future.
Being able to easily pull together a report allows for these figures to be provided at quickly and help organisations show its positive impact to stakeholders – and for potential stakeholders this can prove a powerful tool to engage on further work.
Our own social value software is designed to make our clients’ lives as easy and straightforward as possible, taking the complexity out of social value and empowering them with a platform that maximises the opportunities. Request a free demonstration of our software.