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The following blog was written by our member Natasha Jolob. Natasha is the Director of Kai-zen Change for Good CIC who help vision-driven charities and social enterprises to do more good.

The new ‘Be Responsive’ Social Value standard has been launched by Social Value International. This is big news in the world of social impact and we are excited about it. The standard takes the Social Value UK standards a stage further by linking evaluation with planning using a rigorous, measured approach.

The standard helps organisations to maximise social impact for all stakeholders by supporting organisational decision-making and it offers a framework to be transparent in how decisions are made.

The standard supports organisations to use data to make strategic, tactical and operational social impact decisions & assess the consequences and risks of those decisions. It enhances the business planning process by supporting the scheduling and timing of decisions. The standard also helps to review data quality, the impact of data quality on decision making and the risks of using sub-standard data.

The standard provides businesses with a transparent process to report on what attempts were made to optimise social value and what prevented optimisation. This is significant and relevant to funders, investors, commissioners and for learning across the social economy – to build the social economy we need to openly share the challenges faced and be open to discovering together how to address these challenges so that we can continuously take steps to improve and move together in the same direction.

Social enterprises will find the standard of particular interest as they continue to strive to find the optimum – the balance point between financial and social return, but it is largely hit and miss, with continuous battles and struggles to survive and self-sustain the business. The Be Responsive method provides pointers to the right direction so that social enterprises can find that sweet spot, the optimum point where social value can be maximized for all stakeholders and where the balance point is between social and financial return.

In response to the draft standard, and with funding from the Social Enterprise Support Fund, Kai-zen and Morethanoutputs developed a business improvement workshop and trialed it in 2021 with Double Impact, a medium sized charity that provides drugs and alcohol services in

Nottingham. Following an external evaluation two business improvement sessions were held with a selection of its stakeholders. The evaluation data was assessed and Double Impact identified that more data was needed before proceeding with decision-making. Discussions centred on where adjustments could be made in the delivery of existing services to increase the social impact and new business ideas were generated in response to the data.

Eleanor Youdell, the Business Development Manager said, ‘Seeing it through the lens of the service users rather than the funder was different, and it was useful to understand that there will be crossovers and differences between the value that different stakeholders place on the impact of our services’.

CEO, Graham Miller, said that it helped to place more value on the data and using this data to inform and influence commissioners. He reported, ‘the workshop supported us to understand not only the value of social impact, but also how to utilise it to inform strategic planning together with discussions with our stakeholders and commissioners’.

Eleanor fed back that the right amount of input was provided and that we asked the right questions to spark some very useful discussions about what Double Impact does and why, which will definitely be continued outside of the workshop itself.

We are now looking for organisations that have completed a recent SROI evaluation and would like to use this to data to make decisions that will maximise social impact. Please get in touch if you would like to trial the new business improvement workshop – as Advanced Accredited Social Value Practitioners with Social Value UK we strive to raise the standards and improve the impact and performance of the sector.

Natasha Jolob is also running a session for small charities and social enterprises at the forthcoming Social Value UK Members Exchange. The focus of the session is on building internal capacity to measure change with limited resources and linking this to project planning using the new Be Responsive standard. We would love to see you there.

For more information on the Business Improvement Workshop and to register an interest email , call Natasha on T. 07590523540, or visit there website here.

Posted 26th August 2022

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