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Article Details

Published Date: 6-04-2022
Author: Executive Compass
Category: Social Value
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We take a look at new guidance from the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), which has been developed to support organisations deliver social value across all stages of a building project.

UKGBC guidance

Over the last 12 months, UKGBC has been working closely with a number of partner organisations to test how social value is actually being achieved through live projects and to better understand the challenges and opportunities for success. The result is ‘A guide for delivering social value on built environment projects’, providing a series of practical steps which project teams can apply to deliver meaningful social value at all project stages, from planning and design through to the construction and operation of the building.

The guidance builds on the UKGBC’s ‘Framework for defining social value’ which was published in 2021 and has also been revised as part of the study in response to feedback from UKGBC Social Value Partners and members. The resulting guidance is divided into three sections:

  • Delivery checklist –designed to equip senior decision makers with a task list of what to consider and why it is important.
  • Guidance notes – aimed at practitioners who are responsible for the deeper level of detail required for social value in day-to-day project delivery, including common mistakes to avoid and examples of what to include or consider for each step.
  • Case studies – detailed summaries of real projects where social value has been delivered including the social value outcomes targeted, the approach adopted and future considerations.


Eight-step process for delivering social value

At the core of the guidance is the UKGBC’s revised eight-step process for delivering social value. This is outlined in detail, however as a brief summary, the steps include:

  1. Agreeing a clear social value purpose – a short statement outlining why you want your project to deliver social value.
  2. Identifying priority stakeholders – including those throughout the planning, design, construction and operation of the building, ensuring time and resources are used most effectively when engaging stakeholders.
  3. Understanding stakeholder needs – enabling you to respond and deliver the social value of your priority stakeholders.
  4. Agreeing social value outcomes – this is a collaborative process with the project team and stakeholders and will be central to the social value delivery plan.
  5. Creating a social value delivery plan – outlining the social value initiatives you intend to deliver to meet the outcomes identified in step 4.
  6. Putting in place a social value measurement framework – providing a structure and consistent approach for evaluating and reporting the social value outcomes achieved.
  7. Executing your social value delivery plan – putting steps 1–6 into action.
  8. Ongoing measurement, monitoring and reporting – to evidence that the intended outcomes are achieved, as well as identify any issues in achieving the social value outcomes and supporting continuous improvement.

‘A guide for delivering social value on built environment projects’, provides a useful tool and structure for putting social value into practice, while recognising that it is often complex and challenging, especially given the time frames of many construction projects and the multitude of stages and delivery partners involved. The guidance stresses that there is no one size fits all approach, and that how and what is delivered will depend on the contract, commercial and contractual limitations, and your organisation’s role. However, as well as being relevant to building projects, any of the principles within the guide will be applicable to just about any organisation looking to implement social value initiatives.


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