Just what do we mean by the phrase ‘social value’ when it comes to PR campaigns?
Under the Public Services (Social Value) Act, public bodies in England and Wales are mandated to consider how the services they commission and procure can improve the wider economic, social and environmental well-being of their areas of operation.
In a nutshell, the Act requires them to look beyond the traditional return on investment they expect to see from a contract and look at the collective benefit it can bring to a community.
Public sector tenders are increasingly inviting bidders to show how they would deliver social value under the Act.
We took a moment, outside the statutory definition, to sense check a more general approach to social value in the context of the work we do every day for clients, whether public, private or third sector.
Underpinning our thinking is the idea that PR is most effective when it moves away from solely products, features and service announcements to answer the ‘so what?’ question. That means explaining what the product, feature or service actually enables someone to do and for what reason.
Call it ‘social value’ or ‘so what?’, our work is all about integrating PR in a seamless way that helps to articulate the benefit a client brings to its customers and communities.
Let’s take it as read that our clients create jobs and provide, in their different ways, a measurable return on investment by achieving organisational objectives. What wider benefit do they bring? Here are just a few examples of the value our clients deliver:-
- Finding people jobs through expert recruitment advice
- Educating thousands of children on their journey through school
- Holidays and respite care for children with life-threatening illnesses
- Millions of bus journeys for urban residents
- Safe, clean water supplies to hundreds of thousands of homes
- Helping entrepreneurs turn commercial ideas into viable businesses
- Homes for people on low income who might otherwise struggle to find accommodation
- A more sustainable environment through renewable energy development
- Peace of mind when planning for a retirement income
- A more enjoyable experience of care homes
- A stronger collective voice when representing the needs of small business to government
- Transporting precious cargo by sea ensuring, among other benefits, that overseas fruit growers can access European markets
- Sustainable waste management
- Saving the jobs of people whose employers have gone into administration
- Helping people get a fair price for land and property at auction
- Providing location data for companies and organisations with an interest in land and property
We could cite many more examples and believe all our PR clients deliver wider value than is shown in just the numbers on a balance sheet.