Social value – your tool to create wellbeing through open space

30.11.2022 2 min read

This month Temple’s Prude Wales wrote a blog for Make Space For Girls, In it, she discusses how social value, how to measure it, and how it can be used to create spaces that work better for teenage girls.

An Introduction to Social Value

Social value is a term that has been widely used in England since 2012, yet there is still limited understanding of how it can be harnessed as a driver for change in communities.

Thinking through the social value you want to achieve through re-designing and imagining public space with young people and particularly girls have the potential to have long-term well-being impacts, that also contribute to wider community policy objectives. Examples of this in practice include Vienna’s gender-sensitive parks which incorporate design principles such as safer lighting, flexible uses, shelter, and wider & multiple entrances and exits. Vienna – Make Space for Girls

What is Social Value?

An exact definition of social value is hard to pin down. However, a good starting point is The Public Services Act 2012 (otherwise known as The Social Value Act). This defines social value in England as requiring ‘public authorities to have regard to economic, social and environmental well-being in connection with public services’. There are equivalent acts in the devolved nations.

This means that since 2012, public bodies have been required to consider the delivery of social value through contracts they procure. Some common examples of outputs that you might see in a social value framework or policy from a public authority are:

Social: opportunities for volunteering, access to mental health support, initiatives to reduce crime

Economic: employment opportunities, access to training, increasing access to supply chains

Environmental: reducing car miles travelled, Net Zero Carbon targets, increases in walking and cycling

Read the full blog here.