Conceptualising social value for the Third Sector and developing methods for its assessment

Courtney, Paul ORCID: 0000-0002-5683-8502 (2018) Conceptualising social value for the Third Sector and developing methods for its assessment. Voluntas, 29 (3). pp. 541-557. doi:10.1007/s11266-017-9908-3

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Recent legislation in the UK has placed an expectation on Social Purpose Organisations (SPOs) to consider, monitor and evaluate the societal value they generate. However, meaningful engagement with the Social Value Act by the third sector is relatively low, which reflects both conceptual and methodological shortcomings. This paper describes a programme of action research which has developed a user-friendly tool to assist smaller SPOs to explore, evidence and value the benefits that they produce for society. Conceptualising social value through the lens of the localism, personalisation, deliberative democracy and social innovation agendas, the paper describes the process and experience of applying a Social Return Assessment tool and the lessons learnt for the three SPOs involved, the third sector, and for commissioning bodies. Recommendations reflect the need for a standardised monitoring and evaluation framework tailored to specific third sector interest groups and networks.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Additional Information: The final publication is available at Springer via
Uncontrolled Keywords: Social value; Monitoring and evaluation; Social return on investment; Social value act; Third sector; Well-being; REF2021
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > Countryside and Community Research Institute
Research Priority Areas: Place, Environment and Community
Depositing User: Rhiannon Goodland
Date Deposited: 25 Aug 2017 11:28
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2022 11:30

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