Squaring the circle

By James Williams - on 28/06/2018

Our social value tools are helping leading developers to maximise their social value, and demonstrably deliver on their social purpose, so they can achieve their business and their social outcomes.

Regeneration schemes have faced a chorus of disapproval over the past few years. Criticised for their empty promises about consultation, job creation and community cohesion by some. Charged with gentrification and social cleansing by others. The social benefits of development are rarely mentioned.

Yet, what if developers, whether commercial or not-for-profit, were able to measure, and thereby demonstrate, their social value? Perhaps this might help to square the circle that many in the sector perceive between development and social purpose.

We’ve been using the UK Social Value Bank we developed in partnership with Simetrica to investigate whether social value can impact on the development process, from planning and design, through to management during occupancy.

We’ve been working, for example, with the Leathermarket Community Benefit Society (CBS), who have developed 27 affordable homes in Bermondsey. All the new homes have been earmarked for existing Leathermarket tenants. Indeed, the consultation and community engagement process has been so rigorous that there were only two objections about the scheme to the local council.

As the scheme nears completion, HACT is developing an assessment of the project, measuring social value impacts during the design, construction and completion stages. Once delivered, the methodology will then be used and embedded into future Leathermarket development projects.

We’ve also been working with Westminster City Council, as they look to develop the Ebury Bridge estate in Pimlico. The estate is in a priority neighbourhood, and one of the council’s largest: it consists of eleven blocks, and approximately 350 flats.

The council Is consulting on seven scenarios for the estate’s redevelopment. We’re writing a wellbeing impact assessment for each of them. Using modelling tools based on the UK Social Value Bank, the results will be used to inform the council’s final decision. It will also raise awareness about the importance of social value in the development process with all the project’s stakeholders, whether internal or external.

Social value tools clearly have a role to play in measuring the impact of development, whether in the planning, design, construction or completion stage. Our tools are helping leading developers to maximise their social value, and demonstrably deliver on their social purpose, so they can achieve their business and their social outcomes. 

To find out more, contact James Williams at HACT. 

Tags: 
Social Valuefinance; social value bank

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