Social Value in Defence is a pro bono project delivering an open source, deprivation data platform for better informed social improvement in local areas. This platform is delivered through several hackathons and dataset planning through cross-sector engagement.

How the project came together:

A cross-sector group of like-minded organisations (Babcock, Ministry of Defence,, Plymouth County Council & Microsoft) came together in Oct 2022 with a shared passion for making better social value investments & more targeted activities through data driven decisions. In Dec 2022 the first hack was hosted at Microsoft where also Defence Supplier Forum members BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman were invited.

Find out more about the project’s first hackathon in this recap video:


> To create a credible, accessible and easy to use, open-source data directory available to all (public, private and third sector organisations) to use when planning social value criteria and deliverables in local areas.

> Demonstrate the power of cross-sector collaboration in solving societal issues.

> Demonstrate the power of open-source data and technology solutions to solve future challenges in an efficient manner.


Social value is not yet well understood. Many organisations (both public and private) are not coordinating efforts or using resources effectively; and despite well intentioned actions, are not delivering meaningful benefits back into the communities they are trying to support.

Thousands of relevant open-source socio-economic datasets exist which take valuable time to locate, interrogate and analyse. This platform will bring up to date information to your fingertips, providing access to relevant, accurate data, presented in a visually appealing and ‘user friendly’ way. This will enable the user to better understand local issues, develop better actions to make a difference on the ground.


A week-long social value hack hosted by Microsoft took place in December 2022 to test the concept. Using Plymouth as a pilot area the team successfully developed a minimal viable product bringing together a number of open datasets and with some data modelling quickly created powerful insights on everything from social deprivation to educational attainment in groups with cognitive and physical disability.


The Institute of Analytics (IOA) awarded the project Data For Social Good award in February 2023 announcing the pilot was the best example they had seen of how “data can be used to solve the humanitarian and environmental problems facing society today”. Read more on press release.


We are planning our next hackathon for April 2023 and we’re looking to extend the number of involved partners. As a resource, we are looking for new data sets, web developers, data scientists/analysts and social value experts to join this ambitious and high profile project!

Review the project and the outcomes so far on’s impact reporting.

Interested to join? Or to hear more?