Social Value Dictionary (Pt2)

Support Sign PostsSocial enterprise

A social enterprise is a business with a social or environmental purpose.  The purpose is usually defined in the social enterprise’s governing documents. For further information take a look at this video and this article >

Social Impact

Social impact is often used to refer to the change that happens to people, the economy, the community and the environment as a result of our activities or services.  But strictly speaking social impact is about the changes that happen to people and economic impact, environmental impact and community impact can be defined separately.  The changes can be positive, negative, intended or unintended.  They can also be short, medium or long-term changes.

Social procurement or social purchasing

Social procurement (sometimes called social purchasing) is a way for businesses, public sector bodies and Housing Associations to buy more wisely.  It helps to generate social value beyond the goods or services they require.  It encourages businesses to buy from organisations that will have a wider benefit on people, the environment or the community.

This could mean buying from social enterprises that use their income for positive social or environmental impact.  Social procurement involves deciding what kinds of additional value you want suppliers to provide and asking for that as part of the contract.

Social purpose

This is a purpose that has a positive impact on people or the planet that is placed at the heart of the business or organisation.

Social return on investment (SROI)

Social Return on Investment (SROI) is a method for identifying, assessing and valuing the impact a particular project, activity, service or organisation has.  Typically, it is used where the services are commissioned from the public sector, funded by a grant making body or investor in order to provide a cost-benefit analysis, which is presented as a ratio showing how for every £1 invested £x of benefit (social value) is produced.  SROI is a principles based methodology – for further information please go to and also

Social Value

Social value describes the wider social, economic and environmental benefits that derive from an organisation’s work or from the commissioning of services or the purchasing of goods.  Social value is focused on getting more value from the money we spend. It enables us to maximise the positive impact our work and procurement has on local communities, people and the environment.  Social values asks the question, ‘If £1 is spent on the delivery of services or the purchasing of goods can that same £1 be used to also produce a wider benefit to the community?’

Social Value Act

The full name for this is the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012, and it is a piece of UK government legislation that came into force in January 2013 that requires public sector bodies to consider social value in their commissioning and procurement processes.  There is currently a consultation (April 2019) to change the legislation so Central Government is required to include social value rather than just consider it, and for social value to have a minimum score of 10% for tender evaluations, as well as for five themes to be included which suppliers will be required to deliver specific outcomes and evidence of achievement. For more information click here and also visit this page.

Social value strategy

A social value strategy shows how social value will be included across the activities an organisation delivers and how the organisation will contribute to achieving social value targets and requirements.  Usually as a minimum the strategy ensures compliance with the requirements detailed within the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012, but many organisations choose to deliver more than the minimum social value requirements.


Stakeholders are people, groups or organisations that your organisation positively or negatively impacts on, or who can impact on your organisation.

Theory of Change

A theory of change is a process for identifying the key changes that occur and the general route that clients/beneficiaries take through the service or activities to the outcomes and ultimate goal.  It highlights the typical relationship between the activities, outcomes and ultimate goal.  As a theory it is necessary to test whether the assumptions made are correct by gathering data.  For more information please go to

Ultimate goal

The ultimate goal describes the bigger picture problem the organisation is trying to solve and the long-term impact the organisation wants to have, for example, no poverty.

Something missing from this list that you’d like to see on it?  Then get in touch and let us know.

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