5 June, 2024

Social Value Case Study: Orbit

How HACT helped develop housing group Orbit’s Social Value framework


In 2023, Orbit, one of the UK’s foremost housing groups commissioned HACT to help develop their Social Value Framework. Orbit manages a portfolio of quality, safe and affordable homes for over 100,000 customers and is a not-for-profit organisation committed to creating a better society, building affordable homes, and doing so in more socially responsible and sustainable ways. 

We spoke to Russell Smith, Social Sustainability Lead for Orbit, who explained how working with HACT has helped to inform the organisation’s journey towards becoming a best practice social value business. 

Background & challenge 

As a not-for-profit organisation, it’s important to us that we maximise the social value we deliver. It is a key element of our recently launched 2030 Corporate Strategy, where we set out our ambition to ‘provide amongst the best customer experience of any housing association in the country’, and a key performance indicator of our two sustainability linked loans, with ABN-AMRO and Barclays.   

Orbit has recorded its social value from its frontline services and supply chain for a number of years. To date we have delivered £61.5million in social value to our customers and society, and we have a commitment to deliver £100million worth of Social Value by 2025. However, whilst we are progressing well towards this target, we were confident we weren’t capturing the entirety of our impact.   

We reached out to HACT as we wanted to be able to accurately track Orbit’s Social Value to provide assurance to our lenders and the wider organisation and ensure our data capture methods were aligned with best practice. HACT offered us an audit of our reporting for the previous financial years 2021-22 and 22-23. 

Why HACT? 

We have been using HACT’s UK Social Value Bank for several years due to its applicability on social housing. One of the major benefits of using the UK Social Value Bank has been the ability to measure wellbeing value – having a tool that helps us measure the impact of our provision of quality affordable homes and services to customers and society is invaluable. It lets us know that we are making the kind of impact that really makes a difference to our customers.  

Following the successful certification of our social value delivery for previous financial years HACT recommended next steps including: 

Impact / benefit of working with HACT 

The main benefit has been a distinct focus on capturing the impact we make for our customers and society across our business.   With so many of our departments having different roles and engagement points with customers, it was important to understand how we can capture data to monitor Orbit’s impact, understand how we can improve performance in the future, and help us increase the impact we make. 

“With HACT’s support, we’re making better use of the Social Value Bank to further inform our business decisions, ensuring we invest where it will have the greatest impact for our customers and deliver the greatest social return on our investments. 

We have already started work on implementing HACT’s recommendations including the development of our Social Value Framework, which will guide us on our journey to embedding social value across the organisation and provide a more holistic view of the impact of our provision of quality, affordable homes and services to customers and society.” 


Download the full case study

Orbit Case Study

PUBLISHED: June 2024

Download the full case study for your reference, internal learning and to help you on your social value journey.

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