Social value is an intrinsic part of our sector’s DNA. It is central to our collective social purpose.
The challenge we face is to ensure that how we understand and measure social value is fit for the business of social housing now and in the future.
Our roadmap will enable the social housing sector to use social value information to improve services, enhance decision-making and increase the impact we make.
HACT and social value
HACT has been pioneering social value in social housing since 2012.
In 2014, HACT and Simetrica-Jacobs together with over 50 social housing organisations developed and launched the UK Social Value Bank.
As the charity of the sector, HACT had been approached by a number of social housing organisations. As social purpose organisations, they wanted a robust way to measure the social value of their work.
The UK Social Value Bank pioneered a new way to measure social value. It was developed by the housing sector for the housing sector. It was designed to describe our social purpose.
Since its launch,the UK Social Value Bank and the value calculator has been downloaded over 18,000 times. We have also developed three further social value calculators to help organisations measure their impact around mental health, community-led housing and community asset transfers. All four calculators are free for social housing organisations to use.
HACT also provides a range of other tools and services to enable social housing organisations embrace social value and its application to the business of social housing.
The UK Social Value in Housing Taskforce
So much has changed since we first came together as a sector to find a better way to measure our social value. Now, across the sector, social housing organisations are using social value information in a way that they have never done before. It has moved beyond retrospective reporting and into business decision-making.
While much has changed, the sector can do even more. Our approach and the tools we use also need to evolve. As a sector, though, there is no value in social value unless we work together.
In January 2020, HACT and Simetrica-Jacobs convened the UK Social Value in Housing Taskforce, consisting of representatives from 22 organisations, including social housing organisations, national membership bodies, developers and contractors, and the Regulator of Social Housing.
The Taskforce agreed that our sector needs to work collaboratively to standardise our approaches so that social value information is better understood and respected, is available to measure performance, and can be used to support and enhance our regulatory returns.
The Taskforce asked HACT to develop a roadmap that included an expanded UK Social Value Bank, along with resources and tools that could be used by any project in any social housing organisation looking to improve, demonstrate and maximise its social, economic and environmental outcomes.
The roadmap for the future of social value in social housing
Working with Simetrica-Jacobs and partners from the social housing sector, we have developed a roadmap for the future of social value in social housing.
The roadmap consists of three stages:
- Stage 1: expanding the UK Social Value Bank with a broader set of wellbeing values, a new set of economic values and a new set of environmental values. In bringing together these different methodologies, we will ensure they are coherent, robust and avoid double counting, so that social housing organisations can apply social value metrics across their business with confidence.
- Stage 2: developing tools to use the UK Social Value Bank. These will enable social housing organisations to apply social value metrics across their business, whether in asset management and investment, ESG reporting, or regulation and value for money.
- Stage 3: applying the UK Social Value Bank to the business of social housing. In evolving our approach to social value, we will develop a range of services for social housing organisations, including social value assurance, social value audit and certification, social value benchmarking and social value innovation.
We are inviting organisations to get involved with us now, so we can progress the roadmap for the future of social value in social housing.
Your involvement would include creating and testing the new values, resources and tools, and contributing financially towards the roadmap’s development and implementation.
We would also value your input into a communications strategy to raise awareness about how social value can improve outcomes, inform decision-making and influence stakeholders.
A number of leading social housing organisations have already expressed an interest in joining us to develop the future of social value for social housing.
To find out more, contact James Williams.