Delivering impact through Research and Insight

Head of Research and Insights, Dr Andy Cotter-Roberts, weighs in on Social Value. 20th May 2024 


The world and the global economy are changing. Climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic and rapidly changing geo-politics have all contributed towards a very different order post-2020. Add in inflation and the escalating cost-of-living crisis and the landscape of decision-making for public bodies and organisations across the UK has only become more complex.

Enabling efficient spending is always at the forefront of budget holders and policymakers’ minds. However, what we also know is that we need decision making that brings about sustainable solutions – reducing the burden on services over the long term and building resilience to the shocks we have experienced, as well as those yet to come. We also know that these decisions should make people happier, more connected and better able to live their lives within carbon limits that the planet can sustain.

A real shift has taken place towards understanding ‘value-for-money’, not purely in cost reduction, but in emphasising the maximising of a more holistic range of benefits. What has emerged from this is the concept of ‘Social Value’ – a catch-all for understanding the positive impacts that companies and organisations have on society, the environment and the economy, with a focus on incorporating this impact into decision and policy making. It is now often a key ask when working with public sector, and more socially minded private sector organisations, that you are able to demonstrate the social value you create. In addition, ever more aware consumers are increasingly conscious of the impact that their spending habits have on people and planet. Put simply – Social Value is important and it’s here to stay.

Despite the growing recognition of Social Value’s importance, being able to identify and evidence it can be challenging. Our team’s experience of building a Social Value Database for public health, modelling more efficient health services and identifying key areas for investment through decomposition modelling can help you be recognised for the positive impact you have and communicate it with confidence.

As an organisation, Grasshopper is currently going through its own social value journey, and moving forward will be reporting each year on the impacts we have had on our local communities. This includes exploring person centred impacts from work experience, skills and training, looking at supply chain impacts, what we have achieved through volunteering hours, as well as looking at our carbon footprint and journey to net zero.

If you would like to discuss in more detail how we can support you plan and measure social impact, whether on a project or contract basis, or as an organisation, then get in touch for a chat.

Written by Dr Andy Cotter-Roberts

Email: [email protected]