16 February, 2023

Strategic and holistic approach to social impact from the built development sector.

We outline and reflect on our long-term strategic partnership with Mount Anvil and the work they are doing to ensure social value goes beyond the numbers and creates real impact through all their estate transformation schemes in Central London.

Mount Anvil’s vision

Mount Anvil is a property development company building homes and transforming communities across London for 30 years. Working solely in partnerships with social housing organisations and local authorities and funded by the Mayor of London, Mount Anvil deliver high-quality developments that Londoners are proud to call home. They are committed to  embedding a sophisticated approach to measuring social value at a corporate level and across multiple schemes.

The influence of a developer like Mount Anvil to deliver and optimise social value is multi-faceted. Not only do they create social impact through effective and impactful corporate partnerships, but they can also cascade this social value approach down to inform individual developments working across a full and diverse supply chain and beyond.

The approach

Mount Anvil began working with HACT for two years on its long term partnership, to develop a strategic approach for social value for the whole organisation, as well as formulating a tailored approach to developments like the Barnsbury Estate in Islington, the Byng/Bellamy and Tiller Road Estates in the Isle of Dogs and the Lots Road development in Kensington & Chelsea.,

 This comprehensive project is still in progress, HACT and Mount Anvil continue to work together using the techniques and methodology outlined below.

The following techniques  have been used at both corporate and development level to ensure social value is aligned across all aspects of the organisation.

Initial scoping

Scoping is crucial to clarify and finalise social value aims and objectives. It involves a thorough review of internal documents and procedures and is important for each development to understand the wide variety of priorities and social value opportunities.

For example, each new development has a social value action plan (built in partnership with Augarde Asociates). These plans form the basis for the type of projects which Mount Anvil will support, which in turn link to the Council and community priorities. Social Value activities are then identified and connected to a medium-term 5-year monetised measurement forecast using the UK Social Value Bank.

Discovery

The discovery phase is the opportunity to understand what social value means for the organisation. This includes:

At Mount Anvil the discovery exercise delivered seven recommendations forming an action plan. These include a social value statement, co-designed with stakeholders to create more meaning. As well as developing an appraisal process that can model social value on different scenarios based on the type of property built, community projects supported, or new community infrastructure.

HACT has used these recommendations to shape the main body of this work; a social value measurement framework .

Developing a tailored social value approach

Using the insights from the discovery phase, HACT and Mount Anvil have implemented their organisation-wide framework to measure the social value of their work across all three measurement strands (wellbeing, health, and exchequer values) from the UK Social Value Bank.

Mount Anvil has access to the full 86 outcomes in the Bank. It chose to focus on delivering a selection of these have the greatest potential to have a positive impact for residents on their estate transformation schemes, these are split up into 3 key themes:

  1. Creating stronger communities aligns with the social value outcomes focussed on employment, training, and volunteering
  2. Creating better places aligns with outcomes focussed on individual wellbeing including a sense of belonging and exercise.
  3. Improving homes aligns with their sustainability priorities and improving energy efficiency of homes.

Additionally, Mount Anvil will use its supply chain with all tender responses aligned to the framework which means any partnership projects in the future will be aligned on the data collected, their priorities, and their approach to measuring social value.

Ongoing training and guidance

Through the social value discovery phase , HACT is working with Mount Anvil to ensure there is a consistent understanding of social value and Mount Anvil’s approach across the whole of the organisation. This is the perfect opportunity to change the conversation internally from social value being about target numbers to becoming real, initiative led impact on communities.

This will be done through a bespoke training package for employees and partners. It’s delivered to different levels of the business including Board, executive teams, managers, front line staff, and partners. This tailored approach ensures these different groups receive the most relevant information for their role whilst the key principles and approaches remain aligned.

Social Value measurement

Now the framework is in place, we have recommended HACT’s online tool Social Value Insight to ensure that the social value of all projects can by effectively measured  consistently across the whole organisation. In addition, regular reporting will be made easy and produce social value forecasts to use in the procurement process. This will feed into Mount Anvil’s enhanced governance framework with an increased focus on performance data and benchmarking.

You can find out more about the tool here.

Audit and certification

To provide assurance to stakeholders such as the community and funders, HACT will produce annual audit reports consistent with social value accounting standards and good Wellbeing and Exchequer Valuation practice. This process ensures that the correct values and approach have been used and that the data collection is robust and calculations are accurate. This follows the same rigorous process methodology being used by Mount Anvil with other strategic partners like PlanetMark on its carbon reduction strategy and Royal Botanic Gardens Kew on its biodiversity strategy.

External auditing is crucial to ensure that social value outcomes are recorded accurately and that stakeholders can be assured that a genuine impact is being made. Social value auditing is a supportive business improvement process, essentially a process of continual improvement identifying where improvements can be made to social value outcomes, data collection, practice, procedures and recommending how to do better with the resources available.

Ongoing support from HACT

Mount Anvil have worked extensively with HACT to develop this strategic approach, but they will not be left to implement and govern alone. HACT will provide ongoing support through ‘critical friend time’ offering guidance and support where needed, and crucially a hands-on approach to specific developments. For example, HACT will have worked with Mount Anvil on the Barnsbury Estate to support with tenders and bids, and a scheme specific framework.

The result

Mount Anvil now have a robust and aligned approach to their social value goals. Projects now have social value forecasts, which means a social value baseline is available at the start of the regeneration and development process using a consistent valuation methodology. This is excellent practice with social value forecasts being developed at an early stage in the development cycle.  The baseline is crucial as this means Mount Anvil can generate social value insights and comparisons by projects and generate expected social value generated per home, by theme, by area, by tenant and understand what and how projects provide the most value. It also means Mount Anvil can pool results about what is working well and what might be improved in the future and thereby target investment in a well-informed way.

What’s next?

Since starting to work together, Mount Anvil have also developed a sustainability strategy linked to social value outcomes and have developed an even stronger partnership with HACT, this time to delivering a healthy, low carbon, and prosperous future for London.

Mount Anvil’s commitment to social value throughout their development and regeneration not only will maximise their impact for individuals and communities across London, but also contribute to the growing understanding of how social value is created by home building.

Let's talk

If you would like to know more about these services or how HACT can help your organisation demonstrate and maximise social impact you can contact Head of Services, Frances Harkin

Get in touch