Social value FAQs

Regarding the competitor analysis, how can we be assured that this is going to address gaps in the market and be best in class?

The Social Value Taskforce looked at the different models being used to measure social value as part of their deliberations. HACT/Simetrica-Jacobs are the only organisations deploying Wellbeing Valuation. Other tools approach social value from an exchequer savings approach. A key ask from the Taskforce was to combine the two approaches so that we can reduce the gaps between different tools and methods. This is a key feature of stage 1 of the Roadmap.

We know that there are other competitor products in the market. We also know that the UK Social Value Bank (UKSVB) is the model most predominantly used within social housing. We believe that the sector is ready to progress and make more practical use in its use of social value information by starting to use information across the whole organisation to improve services, improve decision making and influence stakeholders. Recent work has included a study in Scotland making use of the social value bank to demonstrate how the sector aligns with the National Performance Framework. We have also recently launched a Scotland Social Value toolkit emphasising how information should be used practically to achieve better outcomes for tenants.

The UKSVB is a robust model endorsed by HM Treasury Green Book for the valuation of non-market goods. We can assure you that this will always be the case and as such will always be the most robust approach available. Simetrica-Jacobs is at the forefront of excellence in social value measurement and this will continue to be an important diver for our social value approach. The UKSVB is referenced in several professional guides such as RIBA Social Value Toolkit, UK Green Building Council Social Value in Development and RICS Measuring Social Value in Infrastructure projects.

We continue to and will continue to review competitors in this space to ensure we are not left behind. In addition, we will continue to listen to our social value partners and users to keep pace with requirements.

How will this integrate with other systems and reporting tools and be open sourced to allow for widest usage?

As with the current UKSVB there will always be a free to use tool available to social landlords. This will ensure the widest adoption of social value within our sector and there will be no barrier to entry for any housing association or ALMO. We will also retain the current licencing conditions for use of the UKSVB – free to use by housing associations and ALMOs.

We aim to develop a range of tools that can be deployed to address the many use cases in the roadmap. We aim to keep these as simple to use as possible with data exchange interfaces with other data management and reporting systems. The scope of the user front end will be developed and agreed by the collaborators to ensure we build it in a way which works for all. We will build this on the HACT UK Housing Data Standard, another project of HACT, to ensure interoperability. We will provide APIs so that data is easily transferred in and out of future tools.

We will align, where possible, the environmental values and ESG reporting elements to the newly published Sustainability Reporting Standard for Social Housing and the Sustainability label for affordable housing.

How confident are you that the work described is possible and that this can be built?

We are confident that we will be able to succeed in the work described in the roadmap and that we can create a front-end system which makes the tools and services easily accessible and straight forward to use. HACT has 6-year’s experience of developing and designing social value models for the sector. We will work closely with partners to ensure that we have clearly defined roles and responsibilities as well as documented requirements which will allow us to deliver what is needed to drive social value forward. The partner group will keep our work grounded and accountable.

We can point to other HACT experience in designing complex technical systems for social landlords, such as the HACT UK Housing Data Standard. The project will follow a similar method in both collaboration and technical development. The data standards work includes over 100 different partners over 4 years, convened by HACT with technical input from external partners. The Social Value Roadmap will involve around 40 organisations, convened by HACT and with the technical input from Simetrica-Jacobs, who are themselves a partnership between Simetrica and global company Jacobs. We have significant expertise to draw on for the delivery of the project, at HACT, Simetrica-Jacobs and in the funding/collaborating partners.

What will be prioritised?

We are approaching the Roadmap in 3 stages. Stage 1 will look at the existing UKSVB and expand on its current wellbeing values. We will create new exchequer values which will sit alongside the values within the bank and then build a bank of environmental values. We expect this work to be complete within 60 weeks.

Stage 2, will look at the creation of the tools and resources to support the implementation of the UKSVB. This work will start in W26 of the project and complete in W84. Stage 3 will then look at a range of services that will accompany the UKSVB, including assurance services, audit and certification, professional development etc. This will start in W52 and end W100.

There will be a phased approach to delivery and as items become available, we will publish them. Within stages 2 and 3 the elements will be prioritised in line with the needs of the investors and the relevance of the particular tool or service. We expect phases to be concurrent rather than linear and development working groups to operate in sprints of between 4-8 weeks.

What are the breakdown of costs of the investment?

A financial breakdown is available to prospective investors on request.

Who are the other investors (balance of HAs/investors/suppliers)?

On 24 November, we announced the first of our investors into the social value roadmap. 

We are approaching a range of investors across different organisations connected to social housing. As this is a programme primarily designed by and for social landlords we expect the majority of the participants will be housing associations. We want to ensure that there is a breadth of perspective, but at the same time, the main drivers behind the project are providers.

The type of organisations we are in conversation with include:

  • Housing associations.
  • Procurement consortiums
  • Contractors and developers
  • Investors
  • Others 

Is the investment proportionate against size?

Yes - we are asking organisations to invest between £5k - £50k. We asking those with deeper pockets to dig deeper so that we can bring into the collaboration those of different sizes.

What do we get for the investment?

By investing with HACT in the Social Value Roadmap, you get to help shape and influence the work that we are looking to achieve. By getting involved you can provide valuable insight into best practice and understanding about how the different elements of the project can be delivered to best support the work that HA’s and other organisations in different sectors are looking to achieve in social value now and in the future.

This is an opportunity for pioneering organisations to be at the forefront of social value measurement across each organisation and their respective supply chains. The roadmap will enable sector-wide consistency on social value, with everyone using the same metrics.

Your involvement will provide you with a more streamlined way to collate and use social value measurement, creating a system that everyone can buy into, that can be used by you and your partners, that features reporting dashboards to support business performance.

Investors in the project will be invited to participate in the project’s working groups, where you will be able to learn from other leading proponents of social value within the sector, as well as from leading international experts in social value.

Your investment will demonstrate your organisation’s leadership, enhancing your reputation for innovation and adding value to your brand. Increasingly, employees are looking at the social value impact of the organisations they want to work for – your investment will give your organisation an advantage in attracting your workforce of the future.

Organisations that have worked alongside HACT to develop and deploy social value measurement are now at the forefront of using social value information in our sector – organisations like Clarion.

How would can you ensure this can be used to benchmark?

A key part of the Roadmap is to look specifically at benchmarking. We recognised, however, that there is a lot of work to do in standardising the approaches taken by the sector. In developing our approach to benchmarking, we will need to look closely at how this is done, how comparators are drawn and what metrics are best used.

With an expanded UKSVB and new tools which utilise the bank to provide powerful social value information, we believe that standardisation is possible and desirable. By working together as part of the UKSVB we can present a coherent and credible case within our sector, to our Board and to our regulators around the deployment and use of social value information.

How will you get government, investors and others onside to recognise this as 'the mark' of good practice?

Government, the regulators and our investors will recognise the UKSVB as ‘The Mark’ of good practice if we all start to use the same method consistently. The CEO of the Regulator of Social Housing was a member of the Taskforce, and was clear that they are unlikely to recommend or proscribe a particular way to measure social value. However, they are supportive of sector initiatives to develop robust and standardised ways to do so. We remain in contact with the RSH and will do so throughout the project, so that they can see how our sector is moving this forward.

Similarly with investors, the current Sustainability Reporting Standard for Social Housing does not recommend a way in which impact is measured. However, it does ask social landlords to report on the work they do to support their tenants and how they know that this has impact. When the sector systematically adopts a method for measurement, which it has already started, it will be more recognised by others. Our marketing and communications plan will address these issues head on.

We would like to see a much wider group of housing associations involved to reassure us that this is for the whole sector. How will this be achieved?

We welcome participation in the project through investment from any social housing provider who wishes to participate. We have a range of investment values available to take account of larger and smaller organisations and we are promoting the project through multiple channels to ensure there is visibility across the sector.

Whilst it is expected that some of our frequent partners will come around the table, we are already talking to other organisations about collaboration (see list above). If we feel there are particular voices missing from the discussions we can explore with the group how best to bring them in. It is worth noting that the current UKSVB has been downloaded over 13,000 times which demonstrates the breadth of use in the sector.

Would like to see the new social value standards recognised across other industries. How do you intend to raise their profile?

Alongside the development of the value, tools and services, we will have a comprehensive marketing and communications plan. To facilitate adoption in and outside of social housing we are curating a collaboration group that includes organisations from different industries. We will support all members of the group to promote this work in and outside of their organisations and sectors.

The key way in which we will be able to support this is, however, through the connections we make with others and our membership of Social Value UK. It is also through powerful accounts of how social value information and management has been used to inform decision making, affect lives and increase impact, that wider change starts to happen. We have a lot to shout about in social housing and this project is another demonstration of this.

Download a copy of the HACT social value roadmap


To discuss how you can get involved in the social value roadmap, please contact James Williams.