Over a decade ago, East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) embarked on a transformative journey, integrating social value as a strategic priority. This pioneering move was driven by a vision to enhance their region and establish a benchmark for how local authorities can deliver tangible social impact. Today, we delve into the insights and experiences shared by Helena Moss and Andrea Turton of ERYC in a recent webinar, illuminating their path and how they’ve forged a new standard for measuring social value.
The journey began around 2012, with ERYC involved in the Interreg 4C project, focusing on volunteerism as a pathway to employment. This international collaboration highlighted the need for a more nuanced approach to evaluating social initiatives, especially in the face of the austerity measures sweeping across Europe. Helena Moss, ERYC’s Regeneration and Funding Group Manager, recalled the early challenges of proving the value of volunteering amidst rising unemployment rates and economic crises.
Developing the Social Value Engine
This period marked the inception of the Social Value Engine, a tool designed to quantify the often intangible outcomes of community-focused projects. The engine started as a simple spreadsheet with robust academic proxies but has evolved into a sophisticated online tool, underpinned by government and academic research. It was during this phase that ERYC realised the necessity of a metric that could translate social outcomes into economic terms, enabling a clearer demonstration of the impact of their initiatives.
Navigating internal and external challenges
Implementing the concept of social value wasn’t without its obstacles. Internally, ERYC faced scepticism and resistance, with many departments questioning the necessity and viability of measuring social outcomes. Externally, the Council grappled with the task of helping community organisations articulate their value in a landscape where funding was increasingly competitive. This dual challenge necessitated a strategic approach, balancing internal advocacy with practical support for external partners.
A decade of impactful projects
Over the years, ERYC has applied the Social Value Engine to a variety of projects, ranging from rough sleeper support services to infant massage courses in deprived areas. Each initiative demonstrated how social value measurement could bring clarity and validation to projects that traditionally struggled under economic scrutiny. A notable success story involved a refugee project, where the quantified social value played a pivotal role in securing substantial external funding.
Lessons Learned and Looking Forward
Reflecting on their journey, Helena and Andrea emphasised the importance of starting small, winning hearts and minds, and gradually expanding the scope of social value application. Their experience also highlighted the need for early stakeholder engagement and the collection of relevant data to effectively measure impact. As ERYC continues to embed social value in their operations, they remain committed to enhancing community wealth and delivering solutions tailored to their local context.
Conclusion: a model for the future
East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s decade-long commitment to social value is not just a local success story; it’s a blueprint for how local authorities can meaningfully contribute to their communities. By meticulously developing and applying the Social Value Engine, ERYC has demonstrated that with the right tools and approach, it’s possible to bridge the gap between social initiatives and their economic valuation. Their journey stands as a testament to the power of persistence, innovation, and a deep-rooted commitment to community welfare.
Drive positive change with the Social Value Engine
Inspired by East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s story? Want to understand how the Social Value Engine can transform your projects and community initiatives? The power of quantifying social value is just a few clicks away.
Request a Demo of the Social Value Engine today and embark on your journey towards creating impactful, measurable change in your community.