The purpose of this Guidance Note is to provide asset managers, property managers and facilities managers with information that will help to guide the development of social value activities in relation to commercial real estate.
The real estate sector directly employs over 2.4 million people and contributes £117bn to the UK economy, representing six percent of total economic output and generating one million jobs a year. The associated potential to generate social value is significant and conservatively could create additional value of over £30bn per year1.
There are many ways to deliver social value. Identifying and prioritising stakeholders’ social value needs can help to shape the social value activities that are most relevant – and can add greatest value - to a property, its local community and society at large.
The table below summarises the key activities associated with social value opportunities, and highlights where asset managers, property managers and facilities managers are likely to have a responsibility or specific interest.
1. Jobs and skills
2. Supporting growth of responsible business
3. Healthier safer and more resilient communities
4. Decarbonising our world and protecting habitats
5. Measuring the progress of a social value programme
Across the range of social value opportunities, the responsibilities and interest of asset, property and facilities managers are likely to have differ depending on local circumstances.
The kinds of social value themes that a materiality exercise is likely to identify are generally covered within the opensource TOMs framework (Themes Outcomes and Measures) which groups social value outcomes under the five headings below:
Many voluntary sector organisations operate with limited resources and don’t always have the formal business skills they would ideally like. Conversely, individuals working within these sectors often have well developed attributes such as, for example, team building, motivation and partnership working.
Developing relationships with charities and community organisations that are relevant to the social issues identified as important to the local area presents an opportunity to work together for mutual benefit.
Creating a skills matrix by surveying people to highlight what skills they have that they would be willing to share can be a good place to start. Alternatively, opening conversations with community groups to find out what they need followed by a call-out to people in the building to see if they hold these skills.
Examples are as broad as marketing support for charities to more functional advice on accountancy to foreign language translation.
There is guidance around work experience in that the person carrying out the placement should be observing or carrying out tasks to try them out rather than fulfil a role within the organisation that would otherwise be completed by a paid member of staff.
Speaking with the local Department for Work and Pensions is usually a good place to start to understand the need and opportunity in a local area.
Internships are usually longer placements than work experience and costs are at least covered, with some receiving a small payment too. Given the cost associated with such placements they can be trickier to organise, but they are almost always valuable for all involved.
Sourcing locally is a great way to support economic resilience, and looking for impact led businesses, such as social enterprise, can also extend the impact.
For example, as many schools and colleges run young enterprise projects, there are likely to be opportunities to invite them in to promote and sell their goods in your shared areas.
It is worth considering:
There are a range of initiatives that specifically support mental health, for example, introducing Mental Health First Aiders, or running events with expert speakers on mental health.
The most appropriate type of support will depend on what’s required in a particular local area. Examples include:
When setting up partnerships with local charities it is important to:
Celebrating diversity and local nuance is a great way of bringing people together, both virtually, or in person. This can be done to celebrate a variety of cultural events, or events of significance to the local community, while promoting a culture of tolerance and inclusivity.
Tracking and measurement is an important part of any social value programme, and should be considered as part of the planning social value activities.
Setting up processes to capture the kind of data that will be beneficial to a property’s stakeholders involves taking a proportionate approach and starting with data that is already available.
This may involve capturing quantifiable numbers around, for example:
Alongside this, qualitative insights from those involved may also provide valuable feedback as well as supporting the development of case studies for communications purposes.
At a more advanced level, to begin to evaluate the socio-economic value of a social value programme, there are numerous specialists that can provide support.
The TOMS opensource framework provides a good starting point to understand the principles and methodology regardless of the supplier. As part of TOMS, proxy values derived from national data sources can enable socio-economic measurement of certain activities.
The following Guidance Notes contain related information:
To improve understanding of how shopping centres contribute to their local communities, Savills and RDI REIT P.L.C. worked with the Social Value Portal to quantify the social value of property management initiatives at Weston Favell Shopping Centre. They also explored how social value reporting could be mapped to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Read the case study here
As a key local partner for Soho Parish Primary School, Shaftesbury helped the school raise funds for a major playground redevelopment. The new multi-storey scheme has dramatically increased outdoor playable areas for schoolchildren in this central London location. Shaftesbury has also helped bring the space to life, introducing ecological enhancements such as sedum pods, bird boxes and insect habitats. Read the case study here.