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Books and Guides

The “Evidence for Success” guide was produced by the KTN and published in August 2014, which was established in 2012 to facilitate and share learning about effective knowledge translation and dissemination activities.

The guide offers easy to follow, step-by-step guidance and resources to support organisations to use evidence to influence policy and practice. It is for anyone who wants to use evidence to improve policy and practice, regardless of the level of experience they have in doing so. Therefore, it is intended that this guide will also be of value to a wide range of stakeholders, including: practitioners, service managers, funders and commissioners, and policy makers and planners.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) provides a guides for Social Investment Tax Relief. It includes:

– Guidance for social enterprises
– Guidance for investors
– Get approval if you’re a social enterprise
– How to claim tax relief if you’re an investor
– Form: SITR Compliance Statement
– Policy on Social Investment Tax Relief

This report, Private Capital, Public Good: How Smart Federal Policy Can Galvanize Impact Investing – and Why It’s Urgent (June 2014), by the US National Advisory Board on Impact Investing (NAB) provides a framework for federal policy action in support of impact investing. Simply put, impact investing generates measurable, beneficial social or environmental impacts alongside financial returns. The proposals in this report—some near-term and concrete, others longer-term and more ambitious—have the power to unlock dramatic economic activity and immense positive impact. Ultimately, they may serve as a catalyst to help change the way investors think about long-term risks and returns.

This resource from the National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools (NCCMT) provides information about evidence-informed public health.

This report from the GECES Sub-group on Impact Measurement features the standard to allow social enterprises of all sizes to better measure and demonstrate their social impact and so help them in their discussions with partners, investors, and public sector funders.

The Social Investment Roadmap from the Cabinet Office UK sets out the steps that the UK government is taking to ensure that there are the right conditions for social enterprises to thrive in the UK through tax relief.

Corporate Procurement has developed a Corporate Strategy for Commissioning and Procurement, supported by a Sustainable Commissioning and Procurement Policy. These aim to ensure that they carry out all commissioning and procurement activities collaboratively and in an economic, environmental and socially responsible manner on behalf of Durham County Council and its key stakeholders, whilst making sustainable purchasing decisions that promote the long-term interests of the communities
they represent.

The Public Services (Social Value) Act came into force on 31 January 2013. This Procurement Policy Note (PPN) from the UK Cabinet Office and the Efficiency and Reform Group gives guidance supporting the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012.

HM Treasury guidance on what to consider when designing an evaluation.

This short handbook by Juliet Michaelson on measuring well-being is produced by the Centre for Well-being at nef (the new economics foundation) with input from nef consulting. It is designed primarily for voluntary organisations and community groups delivering projects and services, to help them kick-start the process of measuring well-being outcomes.

The Public Services (Social Value) Act came into force on 31 January 2013. This briefing from the National Housing Association by Sara Cunningham outlines the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 and examines what the new legislative requirement mean for housing associations’ procurement and tendering processes. It also explains the options that housing associations have if they wish to analyse the social value of their own activities and how this may help in securing contracts with local authorities or other public bodies.

For housing associations the Act applies in two important and distinct respects:

– Housing associations are bound by the requirements of the legislation when procuring a service.
– Housing associations must be prepared to define the social and economic value and impact of the services they offer when tendering for a service from a local authority or another relevant body.

In this paper from the UK Department for Work and Pensions Social Justice is defined and a new set of principles that inform their approach are described:
1. A focus on prevention and early intervention
2. Where problems arise, concentrating interventions on recovery and independence, not maintenance
3. Promoting work for those who can as the most sustainable route out of poverty, while offering unconditional support to those who are severely disabled and cannot work
4. Recognising that the most effective solutions will often be designed and delivered at a local level
5. Ensuring that interventions provide a fair deal for the taxpayer

This “Guide to Commissioning for Value” was written by Social Value UK (formerly the SROI Network) for the Local Government Association (LGA) as part of the National Programme for Third Sector Commissioning.

New statutory guidance on the Best Value Duty from the Department for Communities and Local Government sets out some reasonable expectations of the way authorities should work with voluntary and community groups and small businesses when facing difficult funding decisions. It falls under the policy of “Making local councils more transparent and accountable to local people”.

Case Studies

This paper discusses both domestic and international imperatives for reform of public procurement, with specific information on the state of public procurement in selected countries in Africa.

The Green Book is guidance for central government produced by HM Treasury on how publicly funded bodies should prepare and analyse proposed policies, programmes and projects to obtain the best public value and manage risks.

It also covers the evaluation of policies programmes and projects after they have been implemented to find out how well they have achieved their original objectives and how well they have delivered within their original budgets and planned timescales.

This is a State of the Art Review of Big Data written by Duncan Ross for Nominet Trust. It is aimed at anyone who is interested in using Big Data and data science to improve society. Big Data can provide social organisations with opportunities to improve and reshape their services. It represents a combination of a series of trends: the rapid growth in data creation, the ability to store this data at a reasonable price, and the ability to apply sophisticated techniques to it in order to extract knowledge.

This paper from the UK Department of Health and Cabinet Office provides case studies of how five social enterprises have measured their social value. It presents the conclusions of an action research project to assist social enterprises and commissioners to understand better the wider impacts of service delivery and quantify the value in monetary terms.

Event Reports

The Public Services (Social Value) Act has now been in operation for a year. This report from Social Enterprise UK looks at the challenges of implementation so far and gives recommendations for the continued success of the act. This report was produced from the discussions and workshops at the Social Value Summit, co-produced by Social Enterprise UK and Landmarc on January 28th and 29th 2014.

Jeudi 20 mars 2014, l’Agence nouvelle des solidarités actives (Ansa) a animé une table-rondesur le thème de « L’expérimentation sociale à l’épreuve du terrain ». Cette soirée a rassemblé tous les acteurs – institutionnels, politiques, associatifs, universitaires ou du secteur privé – que le sujet intéresse, interpelle et questionne. Cet ouvrage a été réalisé par Sylvie Le Bars, Marion Prigent, Ben Rickey, Claire-Selma Aïtout avec la participation de Marion Drouault et Sylvie Hanocq.

This paper from Cabinet Office outlines some of the ideas and themes from the discussions held at the G8 Social Impact Investment Forum on 6 June 2013. It sets out:

– the perspectives shared
– the challenges identified
– the actions agreed which will help build an international market

External Databases and Resources

The world’s most comprehensive, free access point for evidence to support policy makers, stakeholders and researchers interested in how to strengthen or reform health systems or in how to get cost-effective programs, services and drugs to those who need them.

The Agence Nouvelle des Solidarités Actives is a French non-profit organisation that puts into place local, experimental and innovative actions to fight against poverty and exclusion.

The National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA) provides useful policy discussion and thought pieces on social value in the UK, including ‘Putting the Social Value Act into action’, by Chris White MP, social value surveys, blogs and videos. Contributors include the Third Sector Research Centre, Big Lottery Fund and others.

Opinion and Comment

This blog by Tamsyn Roberts from Cabinet Office UK for the Civil Service Quarterly provides clear explanation of Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) and how they work. It includes case studies and a handy diagram.


PerformWell is a collaborative effort initiated by Urban Institute, Child Trends, and Social Solutions in the United States. PerformWell provides measurement tools and practical knowledge that human services professionals can use to manage their programs’ day-to-day performance. Information in PerformWell leverages research-based findings that have been synthesized and simplified by experts in the field. By providing information and tools to measure program quality and outcomes, PerformWell helps human services practitioners deliver more effective social programs.

Training and Courses

This paper discusses both domestic and international imperatives for reform of public procurement, with specific information on the state of public procurement in selected countries in Africa.

The Centre for Social Impact is a collaboration of four universities: the University of New South Wales, Swinburne University of Technology, The University of Western Australia and The University of Melbourne. Their mission is to improve the delivery of beneficial social impact in Australia through research, teaching, measurement and the promotion of public debate.

Working Papers and Research

This paper discusses both domestic and international imperatives for reform of public procurement, with specific information on the state of public procurement in selected countries in Africa.

This paper proposes a conceptualization of the antecedents and consequences of compliance/ non-compliance behaviour in public procurement. It was motivated by the paucity of studies on public procurement compliance in Uganda, despite the evidently rampant non-complaint behaviour exhibited and a realization by recent researchers that less research has been conducted on organizational misbehaviors and non-compliance in purchasing and supply management.

There are also scanty (if any) studies that have incorporated antecedents and consequences of public procurement compliance in a comprehensive single framework such as proposed in this study. Through a review of existing scholarly works, documents, records and reports, a conceptual frame work was developed in which media publicity, enforcement, records management, organizational culture, political interference, professionalism, organizational incentives, perceived rule legitimacy, moral obligation, social influence, familiarity with rules and top management support were identified as antecedents while cognitive dissonance, low employee motivation, low corruption, better corporate governance and low service delivery were established as consequences. It is hoped that future researchers will utilize the current proposed conceptual model to conduct empirical studies on public procurement compliance in Uganda and other geographical contexts. This will provide practical implications that will assist to avert the unbridled squander of colossal amount of money through flouting public procurement procedures.

This report was written by Nick Temple and Charlie Wigglesworth from Social Enterprise UK. It is the largest and most comprehensive survey since the introduction of the Social Value Act, examining the views of commissioners, their progress in delivering social value, and the role of social enterprise.

From David Cameron to Ban Ki-moon, Dr Anthony Seldon to Professor Richard Layard, many agree that encouraging well-being is a priority. But what is its role in public policy, particularly with regards to young people? How can we measure progress on such a subjective issue? And what does data on well-being tell us about how girls and boys are faring?

This paper from NPC looks to answer some of these questions and shares new data, with the aim of bringing fresh insight into how to understand and measure the impact of interventions designed to improve the well-being of children in the UK.

It is widely agreed that GDP is an important yet insufficient measure of national success. In an attempt to broaden the scope for public policy analysis, a lot of progress has been made on developing the measurement of individual wellbeing, but a lot remains to be done on how best to apply these data to policymaking. The Commission on Wellbeing and Policy works to fill this gap and explore how wellbeing analysis can be usefully applied to policy.

Chaired by former UK Cabinet Secretary Lord O’Donnell, the Commission on Wellbeing and Policy, which ran for approximately one year, produced a final report that illustrates the strengths and limitations of wellbeing analysis and provides original and authoritative guidance on the implications for public policy.

It is published by the Legatum Institute.

This document provides an update on implementation of the UK Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012.

The Social Value Act came into force on 31 January 2013 and requires commissioners to think about how they can secure wider social, economic and environmental benefits when procuring services. This report outlines how commissioners have responded to the act during its first year, and looks at the government’s plans to advance social value in the future.

This is a progress report from Social Enterprise UK published almost one year on from The Shadow State, says that while private firms have been criticised for poor performance, they continue to profit from public services and operate without transparency and accountability.

This paper from the UK Cabinet Office provides an update on the social investment market. They seek to support the growth of the market so that social enterprises can achieve more. They will do this by
– increasing the amount of money available for social investment
– increasing the demand for social investment
– creating an environment that encourages social investment opportunities

Making an impact by David Pritchard, Eibhlin Ni Ogain and Tris Lumley from NPC, offers the first representative picture of the UK charity sector’s response to the challenge of impact measurement. NPC surveyed 1,000 charities with incomes over £10,000 to understand what has changed in charities’ impact measurement practices, the drivers behind measuring impact, and the benefits and challenges that it brings.The report identifies steps to be taken to improve the practice of impact measurement, fund impact measurement itself, advise charities on how to use the data, advance policy and facilitate shared outcome frameworks.

This working paper, by Julian Cox, Matt Bowen and Oliver Kempton for New Economy, documents and discusses research work being carried out in Greater Manchester to understand and identify if it is possible to robustly value social outcomes. The research has focused on the ongoing Community Budget programmes across Greater Manchester. The paper presents a methodology for valuing social outcomes and suggests how such an approach can be used and taken forward by practitioners, commissioners, analysts and suppliers of programmes across Greater Manchester.

This report from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) addresses the following issues:

– the impact of charity law on trustees;
– the future of the Charity Commission;
– the law on Public Benefit;
– the means of redress available for and against charities;
– the regulation of fundraising; and
– the law of campaigning and political activities by charities.

This briefing from the Audit Commission considers the potential benefits for local authorities of using payment by results (PbR), the risks involved and how to mitigate them.

At a time when PbR is high on the political agenda, the briefing sets out to help councils understand what it entails, and whether it is right for their circumstances. As most schemes are at an early stage, the Commission has examined the issues that local commissioners should consider if they are to use PbR successfully, drawing on some national and international examples.

The briefing suggests that there are five principles that any PbR scheme needs to meet if it is likely to succeed. These are:

– a clear purpose;
– a full understanding of the risks;
– a well-designed payment and reward structure;
– sound financing; and
– effective management and evaluation.

This Talking Points publication, from PwC’s Public Sector Research Centre, provides an approach to measuring social impacts and looks at practical steps to achieve wider adoption of Payment by Results (PbR) schemes across government and the public sector.

Deepening spending cuts and sluggish economic growth is driving Government to do things differently. Engaging and incentivising voluntary and social enterprises to tackle social issues and improve outcomes for vulnerable groups is a key part of the Big Society programme.

Government has embarked on a number of pilot PbR programmes. The expectation is that PbR will deliver new and enhanced services to address social needs that, in turn, will lead to better outcomes and consequently reduce public exchequer costs.

In order to understand whether these outcomes are achievable it is important to understand how social impacts can be measured, monetised and traced to actual reductions in public sector activities and/or expenditure.

This paper, written by Andrea Westall, an Associate Fellow of the Third Sector Research Centre and a Strategy and Policy Consultant, provides an overview of the different tools and approaches that are being used and developed and discusses the implications for smaller organisations. NAVCA’s Local Commissioning and Procurement Unit provide practical information, advice and guidance on public service delivery by voluntary sector organisations in communities across England.

Ex ante impact assessment is a tool and process to estimate the likely future effects of policy proposals, and a Social Impact Assessment (or SIA) concerns the social effects rather than the economic, fiscal, environmental and so on. Well-conducted SIA can support evidence-based policy-making, strengthen the mainstreaming of social protection and social inclusion into other policy areas, and facilitate stakeholder participation in the whole process. But it has become clear that SIA is not a panacea for ensuring that government policies help achieve social objectives. Nor is it well developed throughout the EU. This Peer Review from the European Commission is concentrated on one aspect of the problem — that of appropriate methodologies, tools and data sources, as illustrated by real-life cases. It builds on past work which compared and analysed different ways in which SIA is carried out in the Member States and studies which reviewed methodologies suitable for assessing employment and social impacts.

This discussion paper, by Mike Brewer from the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, discusses how Member States can best develop effective ex ante social impact assessment; the intention is to focus the discussion on
methodology, tools and data sources, rather than on processes, structures, or measures to stimulate demand for Social Impact Assessments. It is focused on tools and methods for performing ex ante impact assessments.

This paper by Daniel Fujiwara and Ross Campbell considers three techniques for the valuation of non-market impacts in terms of their strengths and weaknesses. Revealed preference and stated preference are two ‘market based approaches’ which have been referenced in the Green Book for some time. This paper introduces a third approach, involving the measurement of subjective well-being, which has been gaining currency in recent years.

This report from the Centre for Social Justice is a policy report from the Social Return on Investment (SROI) Working Group chaired by Dr Stephen Brien. It argues that a core aim of government is to improve social outcomes; yet for most government expenditure the real value of outcomes is rarely considered or even understood. It shows recent governments to have placed more emphasis on the management and monitoring of public services, but it is not obvious that this has delivered better value for money – the true effectiveness of most policy is still poorly understood. If government cannot determine where public spending delivers results and where it does not, both the taxpayer and society as a whole will continue paying for ineffective and inefficient programmes.

The paper proposes a framework through which both central and local government can improve the effectiveness of public spending. This framework is based on a number of social value approaches explored in the Review. The government needs to clearly articulate outcomes, and develop the internal capability to enable timely and accurate measurement of both the outcomes delivered and the costs incurred. Outcome-based government means focusing on those initiatives that genuinely change people’s lives: more often than not, tackling root causes rather than simply treating symptoms. Changing life outcomes can transform the lives of individuals and their communities, and result in savings to the taxpayer.