Origins of the ASVB
The Australian Social Value Bank originates from the work of HACT and Daniel Fujiwara in the UK. The UK Social Value Bank is a wonderful example of how a group of future-focused organisations collaborated to research and solve a shared problem they were all struggling with. The original UK Social Value Bank was created by HACT and a consortium of social housing providers in the UK.
Social Housing providers were finding it hard to convince both local and national government of their vital role in the community. The progressive housing associations wanted people to understand that they were not simply landlords, but community organisations who provided housing as one of many services to their tenants.
These housing associations invested in a proposal from HACT to create a set of social values which would allow them to quantify their impact.
HACT worked with Daniel Fujiwara (SIMETRICA) to develop this set of values and guidelines for their use. Instead of everyone spending their money on bespoke measurement methodologies and tools, they were able to combine their investment to create the largest bank of methodologically consistent and robust social values ever produced.
Maturity of Practice
Since the original publication of the values, the use of the methodology has steadily grown among housing associations and has matured greatly. I was one of those first practitioners to embed the methodology into our work at Knightstone Housing where I worked. I instantly knew how powerful it would be. This tool allowed us to value our different community services and compare the level of impact we were having. We used the information to inform investment decisions, educate government and local councils, and fulfil social value clauses in development tenders.
In those early days, as people began to experiment with using the values, I read several reports published by organisations, which seemed to be reporting extremely high levels of social value to investment ratios. The risk of diluting the power of the methodology, through peoples’ lack of understanding of how to implement it, was recognised by HACT and Daniel. They began to create detailed guidelines for their use and began offering training courses.
The social value bank and impact measurement practice around its use has matured hugely since the initial project began in 2011. There are many housing associations in the UK who have embedded social value reporting into their annual financial reporting. HACT is now working with clients across government, the private sector and with not-for-profits. Daniel and SIMETRICA are one of the leading consultancies in the world working, with the OECD, United Nations and governments across the globe, on economic and social impact practice.
Australian Social Value Bank’s Journey So Far…
Here in Australia, the ASVB has started a similar journey, with an Alliance of three regional Community Housing Providers collectively funding the development of social values, based on Australian data. The ASVB has the advantage of building upon the existing work of our UK counterparts and learning from their mistakes. We have already published detailed guidelines on how to use the methodology and included pre-built surveys for data collection. We have also developed an online Value Calculator, with inbuilt mechanisms to reduce the risks of applying the methodology incorrectly, and which also generates your social value statements for you. Within the Value Calculator, we have also included secondary benefits for most of our values, allowing you to understand the impact on government resources. We are continuing to develop the online Value Calculator and expand the number of social values within the ‘bank’.
We hope to emulate the values and practice standards that underpin the UK model, to similarly establish the ASVB as a leader in social impact measurement.
Get in Touch
If you would like to know more about the values we currently provide or would like to develop new values for outcomes that relate to your work, please get in touch.
Andrew Callaghan is the ASVB Impact Specialist and writes about his experiences in measuring impact and social value.