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Conceptualising Social Value for the Third Sector and Developing Methods for Its Assessment

  • Paul CourtneyEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

Recent legislation in the UK has placed an expectation on social purpose organisations (SPOs) to consider, monitor and evaluate the societal value they generate. However, meaningful engagement with the Social Value Act by the third sector is relatively low, which reflects both conceptual and methodological shortcomings. This paper describes a programme of action research which has developed a user-friendly tool to assist smaller SPOs to explore, evidence and value the benefits that they produce for society. Conceptualising social value through the lens of the localism, personalisation, deliberative democracy and social innovation agendas, the paper describes the process and experience of applying a Social Return Assessment tool and the lessons learnt for the three SPOs involved, the third sector, and for commissioning bodies. Recommendations reflect the need for a standardised monitoring and evaluation framework tailored to specific third sector interest groups and networks.

Keywords

Social value Monitoring and evaluation Social Return on Investment Social Value Act Third sector Well-being 

Résumé

Au Royaume-Uni, une loi a récemment été adoptée pour demander aux organismes à vocation sociale (OVS) de considérer, surveiller et évaluer la valeur sociétale qu’ils génèrent. L’engagement du tiers secteur dans le cadre de la Social Value Act (loi sur la valeur sociétale) est toutefois relativement faible, ce qui reflète des lacunes à la fois conceptuelles et méthodologiques. Le présent article décrit un processus de recherche de programmes d’action ayant élaboré un outil convivial permettant aux OVS d’explorer, de démontrer et d’évaluer les bienfaits qu’ils offrent à la société. En conceptualisant la valeur sociétale du point de vue du localisme, de la personnalisation, de la démocratie délibérative et de programmes d’innovation sociale, cet article décrit le processus et la méthode de mise en œuvre d’un outil d’évaluation du rendement social, ainsi que les leçons qu’en ont tirées les trois OVS concernés, le tiers secteur et les comités d’autorisation. Les recommandations reflètent la nécessité d’élaborer un cadre de surveillance et d’évaluation normalisé spécifique aux groupes d’intérêt et réseaux du tiers secteur.

Zusammenfassung

Nach den jüngst erlassenen Gesetzen in Großbritannien wird von Organisationen mit einem sozialen Zweck erwartet, dass sie den von ihnen generierten Sozialwert berücksichtigen, überwachen und bemessen. Allerdings findet eine bedeutungsvolle Auseinandersetzung des Dritten Sektors mit dem Social Value Act relativ selten statt, was sowohl konzeptuelle als auch methodische Defizite widerspiegelt. Dieser Beitrag beschreibt ein Aktionsforschungsprogramm, das ein benutzerfreundliches Instrument entwickelt hat, welches kleineren Sozialorganisationen helfen soll, die Leistungen, die sie für die Gesellschaft erbringen, zu untersuchen, nachzuweisen und zu bewerten. Der Beitrag konzeptualisiert den Sozialwert aus der Perspektive der Programme zum Lokalismus, zur Personalisierung, zur deliberativen Demokratie und zur sozialen Innovation und beschreibt den Prozess und die Erfahrung im Zusammenhang mit der Anwendung eines Instruments zur Bewertung der sozialen Rendite sowie die Lektionen, die man über die drei involvierten Sozialorganisationen, den Dritten Sektor und die Auftraggeber gelernt hat. Die Empfehlungen zeigen den Bedarf für ein standardisiertes Überwachungs- und Bewertungsrahmenwerk, das auf spezifische Interessengruppen und Netzwerke des Dritten Sektors zugeschnitten ist.

Resumen

La reciente legislación en el Reino Unido ha creado expectativas sobre las Organizaciones con Fines Sociales (SPO, por sus siglas en inglés) para que consideren, monitoricen y evalúen el valor societal que generan. Sin embargo, un compromiso significativo con la Ley del Valor Social por parte del sector terciario es relativamente bajo, lo que refleja una escasez tanto conceptual como metodológica. El presente documento describe un programa de investigación de acciones que ha desarrollado una herramienta sencilla para el usuario para ayudar a las SPO más pequeñas a explorar, evidenciar y valorar los beneficios que producen para la sociedad. Mediante la conceptualización del valor social a través de las lentes de las agendas del localismo, la personalización, la democracia deliberativa y la innovación social, el presente documento describe el proceso y la experiencia de aplicar una herramienta de Evaluación del Rendimiento Social y las lecciones aprendidas para las tres SPO implicadas, el sector terciario y para los organismos que realizan los encargos. Las recomendaciones reflejan la necesidad de un marco de monitorización y evaluación estandarizado hecho a la medida de las redes y grupos de interés del sector terciario específicos.

Chinese

英国最新的立法预期社会目的组织 (SPO) 考虑、监控和评估它们产生的社会价值。然而,第三部门与社会价值行为的有意义互动相对较低,反映出概念和方法缺点。本文描述了行动研究的计划,开发用户友好的工具帮助更小的SPO探索、证明和重视他们为社会带来的好处。通过本地化、个性化、深思熟虑的民主和社会创新日程的方式来概念化社会价值,本文介绍了应用社会回报评估工具的流程和经验,以及为三个参与的SPO、第三部门和学到机构学到的教训。建议反映了为特定第三部门兴趣小组和网络标准化监控和评估框架的需求。

Japanese

英国における近年の法令では、社会的価値の考察、監視、評価を行う社会的目的組織(SPO)に期待が集まっている。しかしながら、第三セクターによる社会価値法において意味のある事業は比較的少なく、概念的欠点と方法論的欠点が反映されている。本論文では、活動研究のプログラムについて記述するが、社会のために構築される論拠と利潤を調査する、小規模のSPO支援のためのユーザに優しいツールを開発してきた。本論文では、地方主義、個人化、慎重な民主主義、社会的革新の課題のレンズを通して、社会的価値を概念化して、社会変換評価のツールと3つのSPO、第三セクター、委任団体の関与から得られる教訓を適用させることによって、その過程と経験を記述する。標準化のモニタリングの必要性と特定の第三セクターの関連グループとネットワークに適合させる枠組みの評価を反映することを推奨する。

Arabic

لقد وضعت التشريعات الأخيرة في المملكة المتحدة توقع على المنظمات ذات الأغراض الإجتماعية (SPOs) للأخذ في الإعتبار وتقييم القيمة المجتمعية التي تنتجها. مع ذلك، فإن المشاركة الفعالة في قانون القيمة الإجتماعية من جانب القطاع الثالث منخفضة نسبيا”، مما يعكس أوجه قصور مفاهيمية ومنهجية على حد سواء. تصف هذه المقالة برنامج عمل البحوث التي وضعت أداة سهلة الإستخدام لمساعدة صغار المنظمات ذات الأغراض الإجتماعية (SPOs) لإكتشاف، الأدلة وقيمة الفوائد التي تنتجها للمجتمع. من خلال تصور القيمة الإجتماعية من خلال منظور المحلية ، التخصيص، الديمقراطية التداولية و برامج الإبتكار الإجتماعي، يصف البحث الإجراء والخبرة في تطبيق أداة تقييم العائد الإجتماعي والدروس المستفادة من المنظمات ذات الأغراض الإجتماعية (SPOs) الثلاث المعنية، القطاع الثالث، وتكليف الهيئات. تعكس التوصيات الحاجة إلى إطار موحد للرصد والتقييم مصمم خصيصا” لمجموعات وشبكات محددة من فئات القطاع الثالث.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The author is grateful to the BIG Lottery for funding the Proving Our Value research programme, and to South West Forum (SWF) for commissioning and managing and project. He is also grateful to the three SPO partner organisations who took part in the action research, and to the members of the regional working group chaired by SWF for their ongoing support and informal peer review as the research progressed. Sincere thanks are also due to Malcolm Moseley and Carol Kambites for their role in the some of the action research reported in this paper, and to the two anonymous referees for their useful comments and suggestions. The views expressed in the paper are those of the author alone.

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Copyright information

© International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI)University of GloucestershireCheltenhamUK

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