In January 2017 at the Sustainable Cities Leadership Summit, the UKGBC and Core Cities agreed to take forward a piece of work to help make sense of how social value is being defined, measured and improved in the built environment. The Social Value Task Group was convened in Autumn 2017 with the aim of providing guidance to policy-makers and developers on how social value can drive higher quality development.
The culmination of this work was launched yesterday in a report from the UK-GBC. Over the last 6 months Greengage has been part of the Social Value Task Group, made up of developers, contractors, investors and social value experts, with the aim of identifying best practice from a pool of those that are at the leading edge of the topic. Our work focussed on three key objectives:
- Promote a common understanding on what actually delivers social value: utilise existing work to draw together a high level, consistent set of principles understood by both industry and local authorities.
- Provide guidance and sign-posting on how social value can be quantified/measured consistently, using existing resources. Identifying and filling gaps if necessary.
- Analyse and recommend how local authorities and industry can use the respective powers at their disposal – and in partnership – to drive better outcomes through a focus on social value.
The core Task Group was also supported by the convening of city workshops in London, Bristol and Manchester which helped to gather a wide selection of views to inform the report being published.
It was a really interesting exercise for us to be a part of and we are proud to have brought our practical experience of devising social value strategies to the group. It was reassuring to find that many participants in the Task Group deal with the same challenges within their organisations (for example, clearly defining what social value means for a given development). Another common discussion point was an agreement on what the outcomes and opportunities are to challenging the improvement of social value. We found that engagement on the topic varies greatly depending upon geographical location (and corresponding policy), development type, and duration of engagement / ownership of the asset. Challenges of measurement, additionality and long-term improvements that stand the test of time, are all factors that the industry must work hard to improve upon. This Task Group has set out to provide best practice guidance on these issues for development teams and local authorities to make reference to.
If you would like to discuss the UKGBC Report or social value with respect to your projects, please contact Chris Burgess.