Places for people is an award-winning placemaking and regeneration company, with a 50-year history of delivering meaningful social outcomes in the design, building and management of large-scale regeneration projects.
In more recent years, they have diversified their operations, going beyond housing and regeneration, creating a number of ancillary services and companies, all designed to support and uplift the welfare and economic wellbeing of their tenants and communities.
Social and environmental responsibility has always been at the very core of Places for People, describing themselves as a “business with a social as well as commercial purpose”. Their CSR encompasses 4 themes: neighbourhood, people, society and environment with effective measurement practices at the heart to inform management decisions and sustain a range of activities that improve people’s lives.
Prior to adopting Impact, Places for People were using spreadsheets to capture and record details of their initiatives, this was cumbersome, often siloed and also limited to their core-housing division.
On an organisational level, this was troublesome because they were unable to capture the whole picture or get the real-time granular insights needed on the effectiveness of their activities and interventions from other parts and functions of the business and supply chain.
Where social and environmental data was captured, it involved a multitude of data from disparate sources and with no central place to input activities or initiatives in a uniform and structured manner, compiling reports or providing timely updates to senior leaders was a difficult task.
Making management decisions was difficult as a result of lacking the relevant data to back up decisions that would affect people’s lives.
Given the plethora of companies that now make up Places for People, it was clear they needed a digital platform that could take into account all the impactful work made across the organisation and supply chain.
“It was costly and hugely resource-intensive working with manual processes, so having a single tool that lets us collect, analyse and report on our social impact across all business areas is priceless“
Jamie Dickinson, Head of Social Value
Deployment of Impact
Places for People needed to bring data from multiple sources, sub-organisations and divisions into one place, apply the relevant conversions and output quantifiable real-world results.
For an organisation the size of Places for People, along with their aspirations for whole organisation measurement, it simply wasn’t feasible to continue measuring and evaluating their social and environmental initiatives using spreadsheet-based evaluation frameworks.
Unlike a lot of solutions on the market that use their own proprietary measures, Impact is Framework Independant, meaning organisations are free from restrictions on what they record and how they evaluate their social and environmental impact.
Impact lets Places for People add and apply measurements to their data from any framework themselves, which allows for backwards compatibility with historical data and an easier transition from spreadsheets to the cloud.
By measuring our social and sustainable activities and initiatives with software instead of spreadsheets, we have created a real-time view of performance across the business.
This also meant that other business areas, supply chain partners and PfP sub-companies operating in different horizontal markets would be able to use their own specific measurement frameworks and standards, from the same interface. We also supported the development of several bespoke conversions.
From an organisational perspective, PfP could now capture, measure and report on virtually any type of activity taking place, at any time, across the business.
Training & Onboarding
Whilst housing teams were already well versed in capturing and analysing the impact of their activities, there was still a way to go with the other business areas, who operate as separate entities, with different operating procedures. In many cases, they were only just beginning to experiment with a more formalised and structured approach towards capturing and calculating their impact.
To help facilitate this transformation, Impact led group discovery workshops adopting a train-the-trainer approach to speed up the roll-out. Instead of overwhelming users by trying to convey all the features and functionality of Impact when they sign up, this approach allowed Places for People to onboard and educate employees and volunteers based on need, using trainers from within their own business areas.
Users are able to get started faster, learn more about the features that matter or are relevant to them, and avoid having read through dense onboarding material right when they first log in.
We also unified data where possible so different business areas didn’t have to have their own activity repositories. Everything could be collected and analysed centrally.
Crucially, Impact’s decentralised activity logging has enabled Places for People to reduce the amount of administrative and expert support required to capture the relevant data and compile their social and environmental impact reports.
Instead of it falling on the shoulders of social value managers; individual teams, front-line staff and/or volunteers are able to capture the required information instead, as it happens, in real-time. In addition, thanks to Impacts customisable data entry fields, invalid, incomplete or incorrect entries are no longer a problem. This is a workflow that just would not have been possible with traditional methods, for such a large and complex organisation.
Impact is also a valuable staff engagement tool, helping front-line staff to recognise the social value in what they do every single día and galvanising them to do even more. Importantly, it’s showing how social value is delivered across our diverse group and providing a platform to demonstrate our collective impact.
We take a ‘One to many’ approach to data management, whereby the outcomes of an activity or intervention only needs to be entered once and can be fed through as many conversions or classifications as required and then mapped to an unlimited number of goals/KPI’s to inform progress.
With Impact, social value managers can understand the impact of various activities and interventions taking place across the whole organisation, seeing how different areas and elements of the business or wider supply chain come together to deliver improved outcomes for their communities and tenants.
Ongoing Measurement & Reporting
At Places for People, social value is celebrated and endorsed. Social outcomes are key in their mission to provide houses, bring people out of poverty, and improve the wellbeing of the communities in which they operate. Within the organisation, Impact is at the heart of that social value generation and their wider CSR strategy. Rather than being a passive tool, Impact’s platform has perpetuated a cultural change within the business.
The reports and insights generated by Impact, allow Places for People to lead with purpose in everything they do. What’s more, to make engaging in stakeholder dialogue easier, Impact has also been configured to link each activity, goal, theme and KPI used throughout the platform to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
By unifying data collection, powerful analysis and real-time reporting into one intuitive platform, creating Value for Money, SROI and Sustainability reports is no longer a long-winded, time-consuming end-of-year project. Using Impact’s powerful dashboard and insights, reports can be compiled on-demand in a matter of minutes.
The Impact platform quantifies our activities, allowing us to make data-driven qualitative and quantitative decisions throughout the year on our social impact investments and initiatives to ensure we hit business targets.
Everything you need to measure social value.
Our social value tool removes siloed working and disorganised spreadsheets of data. Use Impact to create a unified, joined-up approach towards social value measurement and evaluation across your whole organisation that saves you time, makes you look good and cuts reporting busywork!