Social value

Explains the role and priorities of the local growth team in supporting social value, available funding streams and how town centre performance is being monitored. Find out how you can get involved.

What is social value?

Social value is the quantification of the relative importance that people place on the changes they experience in their lives. Some, but not all, of this value is captured in market prices. It is important to consider and measure this social value from the perspective of those affected by an organisation’s work.

Examples of social value might be the value we experience from increasing our confidence, or from living next to a community park. These things are important to us but are not commonly expressed or measured in the same way that financial value is.

Social value is the description of how a project creates value and a ratio that states how much social value in monetary terms is created for every £1 of funding.

‘If £1 is spent on the delivery of services, can that same £1 be used to also produce wider benefit to the community?’

Public services (Social Value Act) 2012

What is the Social Value Engine?

The Social Value Engine (SVE) is a place-based online tool that provides a robust assessment of social value for you to forecast, plan and evaluate your activities, whether you work for the council, or an organisation or business interested in showing the impact of the work you do.

The SVE can be used to calculate your social return on investment based a suite of more than 300 peer-reviewed financial proxies derived from reliable sources that ascribe monetary values to your activities. The SVE also links your activities to the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals and The Bristol Accord.

Who developed the Social Value Engine?

The council co-developed the SVE with Rose Regeneration in response to the Public Services (Social Value Act 2012), which requires public bodies to think about how they can secure wider social, economic and environmental benefits. Behind the software is a team whose collective experience in social value totals more than 30 years.

In 2022, the council and Rose Regeneration extended their long-term collaboration with the creation of a new company, the SVE Ltd. This was done to facilitate the more rapid development of the software and to increase its adoption.

Is the Social Value Engine software accredited?

The Social Value Engine is accredited by Social Value International via Social Value UK. This accreditation is based on the SVE’s adherence to the eight principles of Social Value as set out by Social Value UK and Social Value International. The SVE accreditation certificate can be downloaded here:

Certificate of Software Accreditation (pdf 171kb)

The Social Value Engine is also proud to be a ‘Social Value UK Pioneer’ and ‘Social Value UK Partner’, reflecting our commitment to promoting transparent, responsible and reliable social value accounting.

How can I find out more about the Social Value Engine?

To find out more about the SVE, including how to buy a licence, please visit the website:

Social Value Engine (external website)

I work for the council and would like more information about social value and how I can use it. Who do I contact?

If you work for the council and would like to speak to someone about social value, please contact the Local Growth Team:


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