“Workplace and facilities managers must actively promote community engagement so that the occupier and the community can both flourish. This will ultimately lead to a more effective business, and a better performing asset.”
Guy Battle, CEO of Social Value Portal
The theme of the IWFM Conference 2021 was 'Emerging stronger'. A variety of speakers tackled megatrends and essential topics affecting the world of work. Here is what Guy Battle, CEO of Social Value Portal and the creator of the national social value measurement framework, had to say.
The world of workplace and facilities management has a fundamental role to play in unlocking social value for our communities, helping them rebuild and recover post-Covid.
Core focus points of social value include:
Legislation – the Social Value Act requires all public sector authorities and bodies to consider social value in their procurement policies. More recently, in 2020, the Cabinet Office released the social volume procurement paper, PPN06/20, which makes it a requirement for the public sector to report the social value in every act of procurement and demonstrate that it meets the minimum evaluation weighting of 10 per cent. Some local authorities have set the minimum at 30 per cent.
Planning – indirectly related to workplace management facilities management is planning. Many local authorities require social value to be a part of the planning process – not only to be delivered through construction, but through the operation of the buildings too.
Private sector engagement is also driving social value. Organisations such as Legal and General are using the Social Value Act to guide procurement. Investors want to understand the ESG impact of properties. So ESG investment impact is right in the centre of this discussion. Employee retention is also a factor as many employees want to see their organisations lead on community engagement.
“If you want to work with the public sector, and you do not have some form of social value strategy or policy, then you're less likely to win or, at the very minimum, you can only win if you have a low price, and a really high-quality solution.”
Battle says: “We’re moving from ESG compliance, a framework for minimising risk, to value creation. We’re thinking about how we can manage our property energy assets and supply chains to unlock value for communities.”
The national Social Value Taskforce has created a single framework for all to use as a social value benchmark on procurement, measurement and reporting. It relies on five themes, 20 outcomes, and 48 measures. The framework also tries to define and understand the financial value every measure has on society.
An example is having two applicants apply for a job. One is a graduate with a strong CV, the other has a troubled background, perhaps an ex-offender, but equal ability to do the job. Whoever is given the job will have a different financial impact on society. Hiring the graduate does not add much additional value – other than their salary being spent – because that person, given their skills and background, would likely find another job elsewhere.
However, appointing the ex-offender who has been struggling to find work could be worth as much as £23,000 of additional value, over and above the salary. Money is saved on policing and healthcare.
Every measure has a unit of value to calculate a company’s contribution to the supply chain, who is being employed, what community engagement initiatives are in place. The total social value is the sum of the measures multiplied by the value.
An FM plugin has been specifically designed to reflect the WFM sector and calculate how it can add social value to a facility and community.
"Social value isn't just about people; people are at the centre of how we understand the contribution, but it is a triple bottom line framework: social; economic; and environmental.”
Social value is not just about understanding what you can do; it’s also about understanding the needs of the communities in which you operate. Ask questions such as:
- Who is your community and what do they want?
- Does the community have high levels of deprivation?
- Are there high unemployment levels among young people?
- How much of an issue is homelessness?
Questions to ponder
- What are the most valuable areas of social value to focus on?
- To what extent can FM organisations play to their strengths in terms of delivering social value? How do they know where to focus their efforts?