The construction industry delivered £1.08bn in social value during 2022, according to new findings from the Social Value Portal and Scape.
The third annual Social Value in Construction Benchmarking Report found that social value is not limited to large contractors or projects, with higher contributions from smaller projects.
The data also shows overall total social value return on investment increased by more than 4% from 19.55% in 2021 to 23.62% in 2022.
Social value trends
The Social Value in Construction Benchmarking Report has identified key social value trends including:
- Collaboration is vital to making sure social value is created, measured and celebrated in a consistent way, by sharing knowledge and resources across the industry.
- There is greater demand for the qualitative aspects of delivery, such as sharing real life stories and community impact to improve understanding of social value.
- Social value has been embedded into public sector contracts for a decade and the principles for its delivery and measurement are now starting to be adopted more widely in private sector contracts.
- Appetite for the measurement and reporting of environmental performance remains high on the list of priorities.
According to the report, local spend and employment measures continue to provide the bedrock of the social value generated. However, there is a more diverse range of other social value delivery also taking place, including the increased use of environmental measures to support regional and national decarbonisation targets.
Nathan Goode, the Social Value Portal’s chief strategy officer, said: “The construction industry was an early adopter of social value, and this report shows that momentum is being sustained. Companies in the sector have built social value into their business models and are now looking to move social value onto the next stage.
“This third annual Social Value in Construction Benchmarking Report reveals a number of significant trends – most notably increasing focus on environmental concerns and a desire for greater collaboration and adoption of social value in the private sector, all of which will be interesting to monitor and report on over the coming years.
“Historically, social value return on investment has been thought of as something that can only be delivered through large projects. This report serves to demonstrate that projects of varying sizes can – and do – have a meaningful impact.”
For the first time, all 23 Scape delivery partners participated in a survey which reflected views across the industry about the future of social value measurement and reporting.
According to the survey, 65% of respondents believe there is a wide variance when it comes to social value in the construction sector, with some areas showing innovation and leadership and others still at an early stage on their journey.
The survey found 75% believe they or their colleagues would benefit from additional training on using the social value measurement and reporting tool, the Social Value TOM System, as well as on social value in general.
Scape’s social value and performance manager, Alison Ramsey, said: “Social value is a key criterion in Scape’s process when appointing delivery partners to a framework, so it’s encouraging to see that all of our partners not only fully embrace and embed social value within the construction industry, but also have a significant appetite to do more, moving on to the next stage of the social value journey.
“In the overall process of delivering construction projects, social value is one of a number of priorities, so there is a shared responsibility to ensure it’s embedded as efficiently as possible in order to maximise the opportunities.
“The findings of the report, combined with discussions amongst industry partners, show a sector that is rapidly maturing in its approach to social value.”
Last month, the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) published a special report which explores the opportunities and challenges that SMEs can face on the social value journey.
The report, Social value and SMEs: It’s not going away, provides insight from businesses that are embracing social value, as well as practical advice and resources.