If you are an NHS contractor, or part of a supply network for one, social value is increasingly something to take seriously. The NHS’s focus for 2024 is social value, in all contact work, and it is enhanced by the new Procurement Act.
Social value is not straightforward: it requires effort, dedication, careful planning, efficient actioning, and capable reporting. While a strategic approach to social value can alleviate many challenges organisations might face, the various frameworks and the demand for contract and location specific added value can make things difficult. Here at whatimpact, we communicate with hundreds of companies like you on an annual basis. These are the main challenges we have found organisations face in contract-related social value:
- They struggle to meet the given social value criteria due to their company size, operation model and industry limitations.
- They struggle finding suitable charity / social enterprise partners and local initiatives to support.
- They struggle to report back on social value as it is hard to put together reports with evidence of outcomes and deliverables in general.
- They find it challenging to harness volunteering efforts to contract work in a timely and impactful manner.
whatimpact have come up with a way of viewing social value that divides it into four pathways or pillars. It is important to look at the strategy by reviewing what can be delivered through internal activities and what part of social value is delivered through partnering with other organisations.
When looking at social value criteria for the NHS, the themes and outcomes listed below can be delivered through partnerships with charities, social enterprises and local initiatives (VCSEs).
So why collaborate with the VCSEs? VCSEs run established intervention projects across a wide spectrum and they are subject-matter experts in societal and environmental problems. They run their projects across a longer term, they have a clear understanding of their goals and have the data to prove what works and what does not. VCSEs can help solve your social value challenges in various ways:
- If you cannot directly employ for your contract, there are VCSEs you can partner with who have programmes that support various groups of employment-ready people.
- If you cannot further reduce carbon or directly contribute to the local environment, you can harness your company’s resources to support organisations who have established programmes on the ground.
- If you find it difficult to harness your volunteering schemes to produce contract-related outcomes, there are organisations on local and nationwide levels who can help your staff to contribute online and offline, with skilled and unskilled volunteering. The expertise of these VCSEs create volunteering opportunities that are meaningful and exciting for both beneficiaries and staff volunteers while also meeting contract and location requirements.
whatimpact.com is a social value management platform – it is a marketplace for companies to connect with charities, social enterprises and local initiatives (VCSEs) across the UK for social value partnerships, and it also offers data, templates and tools to help organisations like you to plan, implement and report on social value. The active VCSEs on our platform are excellent partners for NHS related social value. The NHS is connected to thousands of charitable organisations across the country and they operate as a care and support service network in various ways. They cover all areas of social value criteria, and are relevant for location specific requirements supporting NHS staff, patients and local communities with their fantastic work.
A remarkable example of our platform charity that supports NHS social value is The Silverlining Charity which offers vital support for people who have suffered brain injuries. We interviewed them for our YouTube and podcast channels. Their outcomes are matching various outcome criteria on the NHS social value framework.
In a nutshell, The Silverlining Charity steps in and provides ongoing and meaningful support, structure, and community for those cared by the NHS for vital rehabilitation, but who also need to rebuild their lives in terms of work, hobbies, mobility etc. The charity focuses on meaningful human connection, whether it is through online Whatsapp chats, meeting weekly to discuss films or books, music therapy, yoga, or making art. They have a wide geographical reach and can be partnered with for locally relevant NHS contract work.