BS 8950: Enhancing Social Value
BS 8950 is a crucial guide for organisations in harnessing and improving their social value. Here's what it means to overall procurement.
In November 2020, the British Standards Institute (BSI) published BS 8950 – Guide to enhancing social value. The 40 page guide focuses on the role of organisations in understanding, preserving and enhancing social value. The launch of the standard coincides with growing momentum in the social value movement in the UK. Especially in areas such as public sector procurement. This blog breaks down the key elements of BS 8950, answering what it is, who it is for and our main takeaways.
What is the BS 8950?
This British Standard 8950 gives guidance and principles for the understanding, preservation and enhancement of social value.
- Helps organisations to understand their role in preserving and enhancing social value.
- Helps with decision making by collecting and using appropriate data.
- Gives a framework for measuring activities and makes links with existing frameworks.
- Outlines principles to help organisations recognise, account for and report on social value.
- Outlines social value in the context of sustainability.
- Helps identify the benefits of social value, no matter how little data or maturity an organisation has.
In order to achieve these goals and objectives, the standard sets out a seven-point plan:
- Start planning for data collection
- Identify and consult stakeholders
- Finalise plan and collect data
- Assure data are good enough
- Analyse data, develop and consider targets and options
- Report to stakeholders
- Consider changes to data collection
Who is it aimed at?
The standard is a cross-sector guide. It is the first British Standard to discuss social value from all sectors, both private and public sector, particularly where social impact accountability is an issue. As the guidance states, “The appreciation that delivering and enhancing social value is pertinent to all sectors of the economy is growing and can be seen as complementing conventional definitions of efficiency, even in business.”
What are the main takeaways?
Emphasis on measurement
“If we don’t know what social value we are creating how do we know whether we’re increasing it or not? How much more good does one course of action produce compared to another? How much is that good ‘worth’?”
As the above statement suggests, the guide emphasises the importance of measuring social value. Ultimately to not only enhance social value, but to ensure that is taking place. The guide states, “If such changes are worth having, they are worth measuring.” This is evidenced in section 6.3 “Planning what data to collect” and section 6.7 “Assure data quality”.
As addressed in Section 5 of BS 8950, cultural issues are highlighted as playing an important role for enhancing social value. Social value should be centred within an organisation’s purpose and core, rather than considered as an afterthought. It mentions, “Where the creation of social value is ‘second nature,’ then the acceptability of the rigour and effort needed to successfully measure it will be higher.”
What other acts are referenced in BS 8950?
- Modern Slavery Act 2015,
- Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012,
- Companies Act 2006,
- Localism Act 2011,
- Public Contracts Regulations 2015,
- Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014,
- Social Value Act Review 2015,
- Equality Act 2010,
- Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015,
- Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014,
- Local Government Act 2000
It is also worth noting that whilst BS 8950 is a British Standard, it mirrors the UN Sustainable Development Goals published in 2015. BS 8950 contributes to Goal 3 on good health and wellbeing, Goal 11 on sustainable cities and communities and Goal 12 on responsible consumption and production.
There you have it, our breakdown of BS 8950 – Guide to enhancing social value. The standard coincides with growing momentum in the social value movement in the UK and procurement processes, so now is the time to act!