In The Boardroom

Speakers:

 

Luen ThompsonCarers Trust

Veronika Mahdalová: Senior Project Expert at TEMPO

Adam RichardsImpact Manager at FRC Group and Liverpool John Moores University

 

 

Description:

 

Social value is not just about producing more successful funding applications; it is also used as a decision-making tool to inform difficult choices in the way an organization provides services.

Three speakers will be sharing their experiences of using social value measurement in this capacity, detailing what benefits, drawbacks and insights can be gathered from the process.

Blogs:

 

Luen Thompson  The proof of the pudding…”

Veronika Mahdalova “No Pain No Gain”

PowerPoint Presentations:

ADAM RICHARDS : FRC

LUEN THOMPSON : SROI and Carers Trust

Veronika Mahdalová : How We Discovered Social Value…

Session summary:

 

1. Why are organisations not taking enough account of social value?

Luen, Veronika and Adam are all from social enterprises or charitable organisations and there was a lively discussion about the challenges of embedding social value at the boardroom level of their respective organisations. A key challenge that was considered in this session was the general lack of awareness of social value. Many boardroom members don’t know about social value, and don’t realise that all activities create or destroy it, both consciously and unconsciously. There is a general lack of awareness that SROI can be used to increase efficiency, and make sense of the activities and changes effected by an organisation.

Another potential problem was identified – whilst measuring and analysing social value remains under the remit of a single person, its potential to change and shape the organisation remains limited. A more thorough embedding and distribution of the job share is required.

 

2. What’s the solution?

To encourage use and increase awareness, we need to propagate more of a message that SROI/demonstrating social value can confer competitive advantage by showing that organisations are adaptable and transparent. To clarify the message and ensure easy and coherent communication it is necessary to standardise and clarify the language used between different organisations and fields. To try and ensure that the whole SROI culture is embedded into the organisation, more training within organisations of a variety of personnel at different levels – from grassroots stakeholder engagement and collecting data to communicating results and decision making.

 

3. What’s your organisation doing?

The FRC Group is thoroughly embedding social value into its activities. It has come up with a social value budget, and is moving towards integrated accounting. Has examples of using SROI for internal decision making, even though its initial objective for SROI was to do with external communications.

 Speaker Discussion Points:

Luen, Veronika and Adam responded to some initial questions before the conference.  See below for his answers:

  1. Why are organisations not taking enough account of social value? Luen: Understanding social value is complex and open to interpretation as it attempts to make a science out of something which can be seen as intangible. People can get too involved in the detail rather than the big picture of prove and improve. Veronika: There are two issues which might prevent companies from taking more significant social approach. One of them is financial – in short term they do not gain enough benefits from them. Second one is insufficient human capacity in organizations. People on positions where they actually can think of social value added to their line of work do not have enough time for that.  Adam: Fundamentally they don’t understand the value that they can get from it.
    It takes investments of time and money, and whilst important to be aware of, not all organisations can see past that. Combine that with the belief that most, if not all social impact measurement is overly subjective & too technical, and you have a recipe for organisations to avoid taking social value into account.
  2. What’s the solution? Luen: Set time aside to understand the business you are in and the impact you are delivering, being clear that this is what people want, not what you can provide. Veronika: It is hard to find a good solution to this as many companies are different situations and have different approaches. But first important step shall be to build up human resources. Adam: Understand the internal benefits that come from accounting for social value.Yes, there are external benefits from the communication of social value measurement. But equally, the internal benefits should not be underestimated. Better understanding the relationship between your activities, outcome s and the social value that is created, increases opportunities for improved decision making.It requires an obvious commitment to appropriate governance and equally to developing human capital – it isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.
  3. What is your organisation doing? Luen: Training people within our network to undertake SROI assessments to demonstrate how to prove and improve services to carers. The information provided is then used to negotiate with funders and market our services to carers. Veronika: Tempo Training&Consulting is trying to build up social value through its international and national projects focused not only on education but also on some significant social matters. As an example might stand project FORWARD which aims to reduce food waste with establishing cooperation between NGO’s and large supermarkets. Adam: We have been measuring and reporting on our social value for 14 years now and have recently started to use social budgeting models as a means of improving our strategic decision making.Based on stakeholder engagement we have developed systems of measurement that allow us to align social value budgets alongside those of financial models. Our actual social value performance is now reported and compared on a quarterly basis to budgets.
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