Consultation on a proposed British Standard on Enhancing Social Value closes on March 26th
Social Value has been with us a long time, certainly since before the 2012 Act which is known by that name. It’s thought of as cuddly, nice to have and a bit ‘voluntary’ or ‘public’ sector, but actually those who don’t take social value in business seriously are missing a trick. Seriously.
Not only are expectations of business higher today, qualitatively and quantitatively, than ever before but the complexity of the interaction – and inter-reliance – of the three historic sectors, public, private and voluntary, not to mention the world of social enterprise, is better appreciated than ever before. Links between wellbeing and productivity are proclaimed on an almost daily basis. If we define ‘social value’ as being the condition of human wellbeing, something that can vary and be influenced by outside factors in our physical and social environments, it becomes the responsibility of us all.
This is why, over the last couple of years, a group working under the auspices of the British Standards Institute (BSI) has been working on a definitive approach to social value. Our report, BS 8950 – ‘Guide to Enhancing Social Value’ – is now out for public consultation. We need to know what social value exists before we know whether we are enhancing it or destroying it! In short, whilst the proposed advisory standard doesn’t – can’t – set out a formula for measuring social value in every circumstance it does suggest criteria and approaches that will allow its measurement to be as objective and useful as possible.
It also tells us about the history and diversity of measuring social value and it’s pretty explicit about how not to do it, too… ‘Our employees did 10,000 hours of volunteering’ is a measure of input, not the outcome that social value represents. And reducing social changes to monetary value alone is often too simplistic and allows arbitrariness to creep in. The principles that should inform assessment of social value are spelled out in detail. But have we got it right?
So, what do YOU think? https://standardsdevelopment.bsigroup.com/projects/2018-02876 is where you can find BS 8950 and you have until 26th March 2020 to comment on our suggestions and analysis. (Having trouble viewing the Standard? Google ‘BSI 8950’ and take it from there. You will need to register as a site user).
Originally published on Linked In