Colleagues in the Construction Practice recently attended a workshop hosted by Antz and Laing O’ Rourke, about moving towards a person centric approach to delivering social value. They give their thoughts and explore what it means to put people first.   

Social value is now firmly part of the lexicon, but measuring meaningful social impact is not always clear cut. The event highlighted that to make a difference and create real impact, the focus of social value needs to start with a local need.

This absolutely echoes Copper’s views on the matter, specifically, on the importance of understanding the communities that we want to support, and reaffirmed our belief that these improvements to collaboration and information gathering are the building blocks of successful social value delivery.


It is not a tick box exercise

Starting with a person or community need was a theme that came out again and again throughout the workshop and echoed by Mark Cottam at Laing O’Rourke.

As the Social Value Lead at Laing O’ Rourke, Mark commented that to drive social value, the approach needs to be centred around the personal need. And that to achieve this, there has o be wider collaboration to provide a greater level of opportunity.

This suggests that a tick box mentality does not drive meaningful change. It is also a reminder that collaboration and data are key to making a meaningful impact and supporting those who need it most. This is a topic discussed in another recent blog, which suggested that whilst measuring tools such as TOMs are useful for valuing social impact, they do not necessarily represent the whole story. Ensuring the needs of communities remain front and centre of any social value activity is key.

Capturing the data is clearly important, and we should use data values as a hook to get the conversation started, but not let that be the end of the story.


Flipping the narrative

So does the industry need to look at Social Value in a different way? Actress Cherylee Houston MBE (Coronation Street), gave her thoughts on the matter.  She expressed how she was a product of a tick box exercise and gave an impassioned speech on the need to approach social value that allows everyone to benefit; normalising the approach to tackling change.

To do this Cherylee commented on how we can look at life in different ways, flipping the narrative for those not always offered the opportunities, and equip ourselves with language which can support a two way conversation – so that typical obstacles that are often faced in a social value setting can be overcome together.


‘Together’; being the operative word

What was clear, is that social value must continue to be delivered in partnership. Delivering social value in partnership helps to ensure it remains relevant to the community, and allows each partner to play to their strengths, bringing something distinct, to support communities which the other cannot.

Ultimately, to understand what is truly important to our communities, we all need to work together to share knowledge and life experiences. Sounds very people focused to us.


Do you need help with writing bids, local insight gathering, developing social value strategies or community engagement? Get in touch here.