For those of you that don’t know, we are a not-for-profit social enterprise, accredited by Social Enterprise UK (SEUK). The SEUK do great work in raising the profile and awareness of social enterprise and social value. Social value extends in to practical business improvement opportunities via areas such as procurement processes and supply chains.
Our goals are to remove bias from the employment arena, to promote best practice and support organisations to attain the benefits and values of an age diverse workforce. To achieve such goals has a positive and progressive impact to business performance, corporate social responsibilities, and diversity and inclusion objectives. It also instils workplace values as well as enhancing well-being in individuals and communities.
Seven years ago, Social Enterprise UK helped get the Social Value Act passed through Parliament, placing an obligation on public bodies to think about the wider social and environmental impact of the services they commission.
The SEUK have just released their latest report looking at the state of social value – how it is being used by local authorities, the difference it is making and how it must be placed front and centre of how both local and central government operates.
The report is based on in-depth survey responses and interviews with key stakeholders from across local government.
However, the research also shows that social value is also too often siloed within procurement, meaning its full potential to reduce inequalities and deliver on inclusive growth is not being realised. Work continues, to make the case for social value and how it must be used more strategically across how public bodies operate.
Often, social value is described as a journey, but at times it feels that not much progress is being made on that journey. However, the new report shows fresh momentum behind social value, the difference individuals can make, and major developments which will shape significant parts of our economy.
Findings show that social value is currently linked closely to driving local growth, but we want people to recognise that this growth can be more inclusive, at a national, regional and local level and be used to build the wealth of communities, if social value were used more strategically.
Some of the key headline stats from the report are that:
If social value was deployed consistently and strategically across all levels of government, the impact could be truly transformational. There would be services that deliver on the needs of communities while creating value for all. There would be stronger economies and more equal communities. There would be a lower carbon footprint and greater environmental sustainability. This is a vision which everyone can get behind, regardless of their business or political belief.
But such social value is also a prized asset and objective for the private sector. Without exception, we hear CEO’s and Senior Managers talk about the importance of how their organisations strive to meet their demands of corporate social responsibility.
As well as retaining key skills, accessing wider talent pools, and enhancing development opportunities, our own ‘Champions’ are also able to extend their inclusive values through their supply chains, by way of best practice, as well as in technical engagements such as for EOI’s, RFP’s, bids and tenders. By applying such standards, the procurement buyer is not only able to demonstrate their company as a considerate organisation, but they also achieve added ‘value for money’ benefits, that bolster the business case for their procurement decisions.
Social Value, as it is is for Diversity and Inclusion, is not just the right thing to do, there are a multitude of benefits that are achievable, for staff, customers, communities, and business performance.
The Age Diversity Forum