Shining a light on the impact our work is having on society.
Building magazine has recently launched a new editorial initiative called ‘delivering social value’ to find better ways for the construction industry to make a real difference to society.
Su Pickerill, Group Community Investment Manager, and John Dunne, Group SHEQ Director, were among the social value specialists featured in the article: ‘Delivering social value: How to build and give back’, talking about the origin of social value, progress made so far and how the definition of doing good may change and adapt in the future.
People started talking about ‘public value’ in the 1900s with the acknowledgement that social value was just as important than financial outcomes. Delivering social value today could still be viewed as ‘work in progress’ with some construction companies ‘forging ahead whilst others are just going through the motions’.
John Dunne, SHEQ Director at Wates, says There is still a very long tail of laggards who are not clued up on why they are doing what they are doing, and for what long-term purpose.
Measuring social value today
Many big contractors now include social value in their annual reporting, but many argue that not everything can have numbers attached to it. For example, a community garden built by Wates as part of project delivers unquantifiable mental and physical health benefits to local residents. Su Pickerill says “you cannot get the essence of the difference you have made to a person’s life onto a spreadsheet’.
To help increase the awareness of the importance of social value, Su Pickerill thinks the answer does not just lie in reeling off multi-million pound figures, but telling a compelling narrative with communities at the heart of the story. With this in mind, we share our stories below showcasing how our work impacts local communities.