Finding Social Value in Your Business: Tackling Economic Inequality

Did you know that many of your company’s “business as usual” activities are probably generating significant social value?

That’s because one of the five Themes set out in the Social Value Model is “Tackling Economic Inequality”. 

And as we’ll show in this blog (the third in our five-part series on finding social value in your business) companies that get involved in public procurement have loads of opportunities to address this goal – if they know what to look for. 

As we explore the Tacking Economic Inequality Theme, we’ll review:

  • The kinds of outcomes that can demonstrate social value in your work
  • How to collect that data
  • How to report on it

What does the Social Value Model say about Tackling Economic Inequality?

Social Value Model Tackling Economic Inequality - Policy_Objectives

The Social Value Model presents two Policy Outcomes under the Tackling Economic Inequality Theme:

  1. Create new businesses, new jobs and new skills:
    • By creating opportunities for entrepreneurship; helping new organisations to grow, supporting economic growth and business creation; and making supply chains more diverse
    • By creating employment and training opportunities for people who face barriers to employment or who live in deprived areas
    • By supporting educational attainment relevant to the contract

  1. Increase supply chain resilience and capacity:
    • By expanding the types of business in the supply chain
    • By treating suppliers fairly
    • By supporting the development of new technology and processes under the contract
    • By taking action to identify and manage cyber security risks

This is one of the most diverse Themes in the Model, covering 22 of the total 52 metrics.

Employment and Education: What can your business do?

We’ll look at the “create new businesses” part of the first outcome along with the question of supply chain resilience and capacity, as they have a lot in common. 

First, let’s look at ways of creating opportunities for employment, training, and education. There are a lot of very straightforward things you can measure and report on here:

  • Number of new jobs, apprenticeships, or other recognised training placements created and completed
  • Work experience hours provided and student placements offered

But the goal of tackling economic inequality also encourages businesses to:

  • Create employment and educational opportunities for people from backgrounds that typically find it hard to get employment (eg ex-prisoners, people who lack basic skills, etc)
  • Create opportunities for people living in particularly deprived areas
  • Provide “learning interventions” – such as mock interviews, mentoring, CV advice, careers talks, literacy support, etc) – aimed at helping people into work or education
  • Promote awareness around careers in areas of skill shortages relevant to the contract
  • Ensuring that work done under the contract fulfils the criteria of “good work” – as defined in the Good Work Plan (fair pay, participation and progression, voice and autonomy, etc)
  • Recruit and train people who were previously not in work or education

The Social Value Model puts forward a wide variety of metrics around these kinds of outcomes. So, when putting together a bid, it’s vital to think about the workforce you’ll need to deliver the contract and how you can benefit them when thinking about the social value you can offer. 

But don’t forget: social value outcomes have to be “extras” generated as a result of providing the core deliverables of the contract. If your business already employs a hundred people on a completely separate project, you can’t treat their jobs as part of the social value added!

Business Growth and Supply Chain: What can your business do?

As we’ve seen in the previous blogs, one of the goals of the social value system is to use public procurement as a driver for change throughout business. So, the more commitment to these principles you can demonstrate in your own procurement activities – that is, by insisting that suppliers and other businesses you work with adhere to the highest standards – the more social value you’ll create downwards through the supply chain. 

Social Value Model Tackling Economic Inequality in Supply Chain

A lot of what the Social Value Model says about this boils down to making sure that you’re doing everything you can do give every possible potential supplier a fair chance:

  • By consciously working to ensure that SMEs, startups, non-profits, etc have a chance to bid: for example, by advertising current and future contracts in accessible media
  • By helping a wider range of organisations work with you: hosting “meet the buyer” events, raising awareness about the needs of public sector procurement, etc
  • By co-designing services and collaborating fairly with suppliers
  • By adopting practices that prevent exclusion of certain potential partners: eg making payments promptly, ensuring disability access, etc
  • By giving a fair hearing to green, innovative, and other disruptive technologies and processes as an alternative to the conventional solutions

Of course, many of the activities above are about processes, so when it comes to presenting their results as social value outcomes, you might look at:

  • The number or value of contracts awarded to local businesses, SMEs, startups, etc
  • The percentage of total project spend going to these kinds of partner

Supply chain resilience also relates to cybersecurity, under MAC3.5. You can promote this objective by:

Data Capture and Reporting

You can’t just make promises about social value. You have to have clear plans with measurable outcomes, and then follow through on them. So data capture and reporting are vital in this area, and Thrive is the perfect partner to help you do these essential tasks. 

We use the Impact Evaluation Standard: a framework of over 120 metrics that builds on the Social Value Model and ascribes proxy values in pound terms to all activities. 

The Impact Evaluation Standard is simply the most comprehensive, best-aligned framework for businesses looking to capture the impact of the work. Using the Impact Evaluation Standard as a basis, Thrive has built a social value software module designed to capture and communicate all of your data in a way that is simpler, easier to use, and more efficient than any available alternative. 

But there’s more to success with social value than just data, and at Thrive we can also help you with:

  • Communicating your social value messaging throughout your organisation, to ensure everyone is aware of what data needs to be collected 
  • Developing the narrative, qualitative side of your reporting – the “story” that your data tells

If you would like to see a demo of the Thrive platform in action, just click here!