What is Social Value?
Your Complete Guide


Social value is the societal, environmental and economic impact of your organisation.

It shifts the core indicator of value beyond money and profitability and emphasises the ‘relative importance that people attribute to changes in their lives’ (Social Value UK).

For individuals, social value comes from what they experience daily. As an organisation, you should measure and monitor the impact that you are having on people and wider society.

Green spaces, like parks or fields, offer a peaceful environment for nearby residents. Building close to these spaces could alter their experience negatively. Improving amenities like benches and paths, however, could have a positive impact.

It’s important to recognise that the impact you have and the methods you use to capture them will vary depending on the specific scenario and people involved. That means that it’s essential to tailor the measurement process based on available research and data.

Measuring and maximising your social value can have significant benefits for your organisation and the wider community. Let’s take a deeper look at how.

Chapter 1

How do I measure my organisation’s social value?

Social value is intangible. But measuring tools like Loop and measurement frameworks like the National SVS make it possible for any organisation to easily and accurately measure their social value.


Define your goals and be selective

First, define what you want to measure. Social value is a broad subject, but you can set specific goals that can be measured and monitored to demonstrate progress.

These goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable,Relevant and Time-bound).


Choose your measurements

Plan the data you will collect and what you plan to do with it. Too little reduces value. Too much can be overwhelming.

It’s important to measure both qualitative and quantitative data. Hard numerical data is great for capturing specific goals. Qualitative data, like feedback and case studies, helps understand unexpected results and meet the needs of your stakeholders.


Monetise impacts

Monetising your social value is a great way to track and monitor your organisation’s impact. It’s vital to maintain thorough and accurate reporting throughout the process to ensure consistent and accurate results.


Drive continous improvement

Use the results to drive continuous improvement in your organisation. A positive focus on social value provides benefits both internally and externally.

If you want to take the legwork out of your social value then a pre-built tool like Loop can streamline every stage.

Chapter 2

Monetising social value

Monetising your social value doesn’t have to be about boosting your bottom line. It’s also a convenient way to present data to stakeholders in a format they understand.

Define appropriate outcomes

Identify your desired outcomes through qualitative research to identify the social, environmental or economic changes you want to make.

Assign methodologies

Next, you need to assign appropriate methodologies for each outcome. There are plenty to choose from – these are just a few examples.

Market prices

You can monitor prices in the relevant markets or in similar ones. For example, you could use transferable prices or public spending

Revealed preference

By examining people’s behaviour – in a similar or related market you can infer the value they place on a good. For example, you could use hedonic pricing or the travel cost method.

Stated preference

Surveys can help you learn how much people value something and their willingness to pay for or accept changes. For example, you could use willingness to pay (WTP) or willingness to accept (WTA).

Subjective wellbeing

Direct well-being-based responses can be used to estimate the relative value of non-market goods. For example, you could use life satisfaction data or WELLBY’s

Collect the data

Make sure that the data you collect supports the valuation methodologies you’re using. Again, there are lots of data sources to choose from – these are just a few examples.

Academic research

Academic studies are a useful source of subjective well-being data. You could use life satisfaction or QALY (quality-adjusted life-year) studies.

Public sector reports

Public sector research can be a valuable source of all kinds of data. For example, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) can provide median wage data and the UK Data Service runs all kinds of surveys.

Non-profit and industry research

Another data resource. Organisations like WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) and the Centre for Mental Health have a wealth of data available.

Internal research

For some data, you’ll need to conduct your own research. For example, you could use Understanding Society survey data to conduct your own detailed regression analysis.

Additionality analysis and application of economic treatments

Additionality analysis helps to determine if a result is because of your project or would have occurred anyway. Economic treatments let you modify specific economic factors while assessing the value of a project or its outcomes.

A tricky process

Monetising social value is a tricky process that’s easy to get wrong. Data collection and methodology must be robust at every stage to guarantee an accurate assessment of your social value.

Using existing methodologies and pre-built frameworks like the National SVS can help. Using a tool like Loop goes one step further. It provides you with everything you need to monitor and maximise your social value, ready-made and tailored to your organisation.

Chapter 3

Why is social value important?

Social value matters because it makes organisations and individuals think about the impact of their actions beyond just making a profit. It’s a way for organisations to make the world a better place for everyone.

There’s an increasing amount of social value-related legislation and requirements for both public and private sector organisations. These include the Public Services Act the Social Value Model and the Procurement Policy Note 06/21.

And a focus on social value performance can help keep employees and the public engaged with your organisation.

So whether you’re bidding for contracts, attracting investors, motivating your workforce or engaging customers and local communities, emphasising social value can help you reach wider goals.

Guiding internal strategies or CSR

Using social value measurement frameworks helps set goals and inform broader impact strategies in your business, including sustainability, CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance).

You can then use appropriate metrics and aims in the governance and measurement process to evaluate progress. This can improve accountability and demonstrate social responsibility.

Business cases and investment decision-making

Assigning a money value to your social impact metrics helps compare investment impacts quickly and accurately, allowing for easy evaluation of return-on-investment ratios.

This improves investment decision-making, helps you build stronger business cases (such as the Five Case Model) and ultimately maximises your social value.


Using social value metrics benefits both contracting organisations and bidding companies.

Contracting bodies can use a social value metrics framework to decide what to ask bidders. They can help define how responses will be measured and what targets to set. Bids can be scored and evaluated using like-for-like proxy values. Supplier social value commitments can be monitored throughout the contract, improving accountability.

Bidders can use metrics to demonstrate their social value. They can set commitments and targets and explore the best ways to increase the social value generated. With more public sector tenders demanding proof of social value, clear monitoring and reporting are increasingly vital.

Stakeholder communication

A social value framework helps you easily report your impact to stakeholders, whether through a custom dashboard or using financial values.

Chapter 4

How can I make the most of my social value?

Social value is a wide-ranging topic that is applied differently across various industries. A lot will depend on your specific sector and organisation’s aims. But there are a few key points to bear in mind.

Have a clearly defined vision

You must know what you want to achieve with social value and how you plan to do it. This allows for clear, attainable outcomes and the establishment of transparent reporting and measurement systems from the start.

Make sure your social value aims align with your core business values

Social value should be embedded in your organisation. That means tailoring it. There’s no value in trying to insert generic social value outcomes into your plan. You need to look at your organisational values holistically and build a social value strategy around them.

Engage with key stakeholders

Without support from your stakeholders, you’re setting your social value plan up to fail. So make sure all stakeholders are involved in the decision-making process from the start.

Everyone in your organisation – from senior management to new starters – should feel engaged with the process. But you should also include stakeholders outside of your organisation – like customers, suppliers and local communities.

Measure and share your results with stakeholders

Regular progress reports will help to keep stakeholders engaged with your social value program. Make sure to do this in a simple, easy-to-process way to ensure inclusivity.

Collaborate with others

Social value is not – and should not be – a solitary endeavour. Connect with potential partners like relevant organisations, MPs and local authorities to collaborate on wider social value projects.

Integrate sustainable processes

Sustainability and a positive environmental impact are vital to social value. Incorporating sustainable processes into your organisation gives you a solid foundation to build further social value.

Be ambitious but realistic

Aim high, but know your limits. If your goals are unrealistic you’ll struggle to get buy-in from internal and external stakeholders. But if they’re too easy, people will think you’re not trying.

Clear, achievable goals will help to motivate your employees to engage with your social values. They’re also a great way to involve external stakeholders and organisations.

Chapter 5

How can Loop help with my organisation’s social value?

Loop is a simple software platform and consultancy service to help you measure, evidence and maximise your social value.

Find out more about how Loop can quickly and efficiently streamline your social value.

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