Championing a ‘people first’ approach

Social value is now an essential requirement for construction businesses to make a positive impact in society, property and construction company, EDGE, says.

Social value is now an essential requirement for construction businesses to make a positive impact in society – keeping the real-life benefits for real-life people at the core. This is especially important in mental healthcare settings, where an acute understanding of service-users can dramatically influence decisions. Here Allana Shaw, associate director and Social Value lead at multidisciplinary property and construction company, EDGE, discusses ‘how the industry needs to look beyond the financial measurements and broaden its focus to include human stories and true community impact to understand its full potential’.

More than a decade since the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 was introduced, it is now a widely recognised and implemented initiative across many industries, ensuring that public service providers keep wider economic, social, and environmental impacts in mind. In that time, the practice has developed further in the construction industry, going beyond a ‘tick box’ exercise to being a critical part of successfully bidding for projects and being appointed to frameworks. 

However, with this importance for winning work, the industry cannot lose sight of what social value is there to measure – the positive impact that our actions have on society, the environment, and the economy, in communities and on individual people. The construction industry has a responsibility to keep this central to social value, making sure that the narrative remains on what matters the most – seeing the real-life benefits it has, sharing this, and encouraging more to do the same. While any amount of social value is good to record, it’s true that value can only really be felt – so it’s important we make time to really listen and understand those stories. 

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