Social Value

Social objectives are central to the mission and vision of a Social Enterprise, so it is vital that a Social Enterprise can demonstrate and evidence the social value it creates

Social value has been loosely defined as:

“the additional benefit to the community from a commissioning/procurement process over and above the direct purchasing of goods, services and outcomes”.

Social Enterprise UK has prepared a briefing about the meaning and benefit of Social Value and an overview of changes to policy in this area.


The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012

The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 is a new piece of legislation which reflects key policy changes about approaches to social value when considering how to provide public services.[link]

The Act which became law in March 2012 aims to strengthen the social enterprise business sector by making ‘social value’ more relevant and important in the placement and provision of public services.

Once in force it will require public bodies to consider economic, social or environmental well-being (social value) ahead of procurement.

The Act applies to the provision of services, or the provision of services together with the purchase or hire of goods or the carrying out of works. The full wording of the Act can be found here.


Social Impact Measurement

Social Impact Measurement is the process by which a social enterprise can find out what impact its activities are having on the people it serves.

Questions to think about


  • What difference do we want to make?
  • How will we know we are making a difference?
  • What evidence do we need to show that we are making a difference?
  • How will we report to others on the difference we are making?


For example, an organisation giving support to disabled people might want to find out whether, as a consequence of those activities, their quality of life is improved.

An important question is what is meant by “quality of life” and “feelings of well-being” and how this can be measured.