The traditional process of social return on investment follows 6 stages:
- Identifying the social value delivered by the project and the geographical area they cover.
- Working with those who have been involved to ensure that the assumptions made are agreed by everyone.
- Evidencing the outcomes and the value.
- Taking account of factors that might affect the intensity of the project outcomes – asking, for example, which of the project outcomes would have occurred anyway.
- Calculating the Social Return on Investment by dividing the value of the outcomes by the cost of delivering them.
- Reporting the findings.
Our system has been developed to give a wider context to the outcomes of a project. We use the eight indicators of a sustainable community produced by the UK government in 2005 known as the Bristol Accord.
The Bristol Accord followed initial research commissioned by Government from Sir John Egan in 2003-4. This potent approach has stood the test of time and if anything is more relevant today. We now live in an era of diminished resources, where communities not only need to do more for themselves but understand the impacts of their outcomes on their neighbourhoods.
Our methodology enables outcomes to be grouped in a manner that allows comparison on more than simply monetary terms. It puts “place” at the heart of assessing social value. It helps public bodies evaluate and forecast the impact of the interventions they support on their patch.