Maximising social value requires everybody on the same page. It requires openness and transparency with our goals, efforts, expectations, and successes. And while this is important across all businesses, it’s especially critical for those in infrastructure – an industry that has many moving parts and often involves widespread partnership for generating value across suppliers, organisations, and authorities.
If your goal is to generate the most social value across your projects – which it likely is – then your social value plans and strategies need to be as crystal clear as possible. A social value statement is one great example of how you accomplish this.
It’s a simple, effective concept that plenty of people undervalue. Out of 343 Council websites, only 23% have a published social value strategy online. 32% mention social value, but have no strategy. And 44% make no mention of social value online whatsoever. So today, we thought we’d do a quick FAQ on what social value statements are, why they’re valuable, and what makes a good one.
What is a social value statement?
Social value statements are crucial for getting everyone involved or impacted by your social value efforts on the same page. They’re a way for your organisation to demonstrate its ongoing commitment to social value and ensure transparency with all stakeholders, suppliers, and staff.
The backbone of this statement is a clear, committed declaration of why your organisation cares about social value and how you’re translating that into real-world outcomes. It’s an outline of what you want to achieve, how you’re going to achieve it, and how you’re already working towards it. They’re where you communicate your social value priorities and expectations to stakeholders, outline your key areas of focus, and demonstrate your successes.
As a quick checklist, your social value statement should include:
Why do I need one?
Social value statements are one of the best ways to communicate your key messages. They’re a transparent, public-facing document that proves your organisation takes its social responsibility seriously and lays out everything a potential partner or supplier would need to know before coming on board.
They provide a space for you to lay out the most pressing needs in your local area. Which, for councils and authorities, ensures future bidders and suppliers are prepared and informed to adequately meet this need within their own commitments.
When there’s no question of what your organisation stands for and how you approach social value, you attract like-minded organisations into your partnerships. If you’re open and honest about the journey you’re on, you raise the bar on anyone looking to join forces. You create an expectation on partners and lift the competitiveness of the tendering process.
Similarly, to investors or partners who have big expectations in terms of social value, a solid social value statement makes your organisation more competitive when winning contracts or work. A statement also increases accountability for your organisation and anyone you’re associated with. It’s a public record of what your organisation is prepared to do, and that can be powerful for keeping momentum going.
What makes a good one?
Like any other professional document, social value statements are best when they’re clear and concise. They should be easy to understand, while also being thorough and detailed. The more detail you can provide, the more suppliers will be able to tailor future bids to best meet your organisation’s efforts.
The content of your social value statement should always take the lead from your local area. Close communication with local organisations and councils will prove valuable when crafting a resilient social value strategy and its corresponding statement.
Another piece of advice is to share your statement as early as possible. In infrastructure, social value is greatest when we take a whole-of-project approach. When you capture social value during planning and procurement, just as much as construction and final delivery. Whether it’s always live on your website, or sent across early in correspondence, the sooner you can get your statement in front of the right people, the better.
And that’s our take on social value statements and why your organisation needs one. In an industry such as infrastructure, where social value is such a team effort, clear communication of strategies and expectations is critical for maximising social value across the board.
So ask yourself: what is your social value statement – or lack thereof – currently saying about you?
The Impact platform helps you take your social value to the next level. From a discovery workshop to help identify key local priorities, to sharing this with partners and suppliers, and capturing impact data from your entire supply chain, we do it all. If you want to find out more, or want advice on strengthening your social value strategy, get in touch on 0161 532 4752.