Thought Leadership Group on Maximising Social Value in the Built Environment Sector

Thought Leadership Group on Maximising Social Value in the Built Environment Sector

To follow up the events we convened on behalf of Social Value UK in London and Manchester earlier this year, we recently issued a short survey to give participants a chance to reflect on the discussions that took place at the two events and then to provide their thoughts on how the obvious energy and enthusiasm at both events should be converted into tangible, deliverable actions to improve the way that Social Value is used, promoted and created by in the Built Environment.

The following summarises the key themes that came from the survey and the discussions during the two events.

  1. Aims and Objectives of the Group
  • Lobbying for policy change to make social value a more important consideration when commissioning and delivering projects in the built environment.
  • Developing funding mechanisms (impact investment, gap funding, etc) to address affordability / viability challenges.
  • Publicising the benefits of using Social Value to make better, more informed decisions. Promoting concepts and principles, developing case studies etc.
  • Developing tools to maximise and measure Social Value. This should address auditing and validation by external bodies (eg. The Treasury, RICS, etc)

There is a strong feeling that considering and responding to the needs & feelings of people (the individuals who experience change as a result of a built environment project or programme) should be central to the above aims.

  1. Initial Thoughts on Timescales and Deliverables (to be discussed and developed by the Group)

     2.1       Initial Three Months

  • Produce and agree a “way forward” concept paper – with prioritised objectives, actions, owners, timescales, constraints, requirements for external support, etc
  • Make sure the Group’s participants is the right mix to deliver its objectives. Recruit key Investors, commissioners and policy makers as appropriate.
  • Agree the key people, groups & organisations (inside & outside UK) who may be able to assist and support the Group in its aims, share experiences, etc.
  • Agree the workings of the Group – location, frequency, continuity, etc
  • Establish a simple communication channel (perhaps via SVUK?) to provide content on Social Value in the Built Environment and to report on the progress made by the Group.

     2.2       Within 12 Months

  • Develop the “way forward” concept note into a tangible action plan with deliverables, owners, funding or in-kind contribution, constraints, etc
  • Establish connections with other groups / people / organisations (inside & outside UK) to assist / share experience and best practise and co-create where appropriate.
  • Set up pilot / demonstration Social Value project(s)
  • Develop a standardised methodology / approach to measuring Social Value in the Built Environment that can be applied consistently across a broad range of projects by all stakeholders
  • Develop the communication channel to include reference material, Social Value tools, technical notes, etc.
  • Start meaningful dialogue with policy influencers / makers, investors and commissioners.
  • Produce a robust case for adopting Social Value and establish an advocacy strategy.
  • Issue high-level first-draft green papers on policy change and funding mechanisms

2.3       Longer-Term

  • Gap / impact investment mechanisms in place
  • Methodology / approach established and proven. Widely recognised. Joined-up and accepted by as working for the people experiencing the effects of change in the built environment, commissioners, policy makers, investors, owners, etc.
  • Adopted by key advocates across different segments of the sector eg. (investors, planners, designers, commissioners, operators, etc). A growing list of demonstration projects which describe impact delivered that a) proves the benefit of the methodology and b) measures the actual social value delivered over time against the forecasted / predicted value and illustrates the benefits of the approach to all stakeholders
  • Audit / validation arrangements in place and accepted by key institutions and commissioners (eg. The Treasury, RICS, etc)
  • Legislation in place – (regional / national / both)
  • A collaboration plan in place to share, communicate & co-create with other groups / organisations on a similar quest.

The first meeting is on 6th September 2017 in London and the second meeting 30th November in Manchester. If you feel you would like to participate and contribute to the Group and its objectives, please email

Get in touch

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)


Department (required)

Your Message