Utilising the power of social impact measurement for real community impact

By Kavita Tailor - on 07/11/2017


Over the last few years, social housing providers have embraced the importance of social value measurement. This has been driven by Value for Money regulation, new legislation in the form of the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 and housing providers increasingly seeking to use data from across their business to inform decision making. HACT, in partnership with Simetrica have created the UK Social Value Bank, now featuring in HM Treasury’s Green Book. The Bank is the largest set of methodologically consistent metrics worldwide that enables housing providers to measure their social impact. Developed using the Wellbeing Valuation method, the values were created by analysing large national datasets to understand how different life circumstances influence people’s self-reported wellbeing, (how satisfied they are with their life on a scale of 0-10) and attach a monetary value to these outcomes.

Building on this, with funding from Golding Homes, Mitie and Wellbeing People, HACT & Simetrica have undertaken ground-breaking research, utilising The Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale (WEMWBS), to develop new wellbeing values related to improvements in mental health. This work is a huge step forward to understand the value created through improvements in individuals’ mental wellbeing. It means housing providers and other organisations whose work has an impact on mental wellbeing can understand and communicate the social value they create. HACT are currently collaborating with the Anti-Social Behavior (ASB) Team at Catalyst Housing Association as part of a 6-month pilot study to show the impact that they have on the wellbeing of their tenants. We have developed a bespoke Catalyst WEMWBS Calculator so that they can measure the social value created in a tailored and practical way. Using a consistent and robust approach, it has aided both visibility and comparability internally and externally.

An ASB Manager at Catalyst said, “In six months we have accrued a social impact value of over £500,000 and this continues to grow. Thanks to the WEMWBS project not only can we report on our social impact value but we can identify areas of improvement and implement ways to further enhance our performance and future social impact.”

Through this pilot we are learning how the new WEMWBS values can be used in the day-to-day work of housing associations and will be releasing a range of resources to support the sector. If you're interested in finding out more about Social Value Measurement click here and if you want to get involved or need some help in your organisation, please contact James Williams or Lizzie Trotter.

Look out for our Social Value Conference with the Northern Housing Consortium on the 8th February 2018 – details will be released soon.

Wellbeing; WEMWBS; Social impact; impact

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