Social Value


The Cheshire and Merseyside Social Value Award (SVA) is now open for the public sector, private sector and VCFSE (Voluntary, Community, Faith and Social Enterprise) sector to apply for via the Social Value Business website

What is Social Value?

Social value is about considering the wider economic, social, and environmental effects of organisational activities. Organisations which make a conscious effort to increase the positive effects and reduce the negative effects of their activities can be seen as adding social value by contributing to the long-term wellbeing and resilience of individuals, communities, and society in general.

Social Value in Cheshire East

The Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership (C&M HCP) has been identified as one of a group of Social Value Accelerator sites across the UK by NHS England and NHS Improvement, to explore how social value can practically and effectively be embedded at scale across sectors in Cheshire and Merseyside.

The Partnership has developed a local definition of social value which has four elements:

  • The good that we can achieve within our communities, related to environmental, economic, and social factors
  • Our approach to building capabilities, strengths and assets and enabling people to live a ‘valued and dignified life’
  • An enabler for the growth of ‘Social Innovation’ and helps to reduce avoidable inequalities – linked to the Marmot Principles
  • A requirement of the public sector as ‘Anchor Organisations’ to use their purchasing power to build capabilities, strengths and assets within our communities, ensuring that Cheshire and Merseyside is a great ‘Place’ to live and work

NHS Providers, Local Authorities (including Cheshire East Council), Clinical Commissioning Groups and a number of VCFSE organisations are now signed up to the C&M HCP Social Value Charter, which outlines a local vision and priorities for maximising the potential of social value across Cheshire and Merseyside. The Charter is supported by a network of Social Value Champions, with the aim of optimising social value outcomes locally.

The Social Value Award

The Cheshire and Merseyside SVA has been developed in partnership with Social Value Business, an independently recognised UK leader in providing social value measurement, evaluation, and development services to clients in a variety of sectors. The Award was coproduced with the VCFSE sector in Cheshire East, through the VCFSE Leadership Group, who input into the Award criteria.

The Award aims to help organisations deliver social value and achieve their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), as well as setting a standard for social value and showcasing good practice in this area. It also enables organisations to become ‘Anchor Organisations’ – organisations rooted in their local communities that have the potential to bring measurable benefits to local people – and form a local ‘Anchor Partnership’ or network of anchors from which Social Value Champions can be selected.

Benefits of Accreditation:

  • Free to apply
  • The Award is recognised by more than 40 cross sector organisations across Cheshire and Merseyside
  • Stand out for your commitment to social value and build brand awareness
  • Receive a certificate and Award branding for your ongoing use
  • Once awarded, the SVA is valid for 5 years

Applying for the Social Value Award

The Award is centred on four broad themes: Social, Economic, Environment and Innovation. These are the areas that public sector organisations across Cheshire and Merseyside have committed to delivering impact and value in.

Organisations are required to make commitments and evidence outcomes under each theme to achieve the Award. The FAQ page on the Social Value Business website offers guidance on providing the required evidence.

Objectives listed under each theme in the SVA Criteria document are the hallmarks of social value production and should be used as signposts for organisations when applying.

It is recommended that the application form is first drafted in a Word document before being submitted on the Social Value Business website – CESAP can provide this if you contact us using the link under ‘Support for Applicants’ below.

The SVA acts as a recognised pathway onto the Social Value Quality Mark. If any VCFSEs are interested in the Quality Mark please get in touch with us.

Support for Applicants

Supporting VCFSE sector organisations across Cheshire East to apply for the Award is a key focus area for the Cheshire East Social Action Partnership.

CESAP can offer support throughout the application journey, including reviewing applications as a critical friend. Please get in touch with our Social Value Coordinator with any queries.

We are currently working with Cheshire East Council to develop awareness raising/training for the Award, so please check back here for more details in the coming months.

Building Connections with Business

Businesses can make decisions both about what they do and how they do it in ways that add social value. For businesses with corporate responsibility or sustainability policies, social value reporting enables them to externalise these policies by tying them to measurable actions and report them in a way that their stakeholders can relate to.

A key opportunity exists for us to build connections between business and industry who want to fulfil their social value commitments, with VCFSE sector organisations that may benefit from the resources, skills, knowledge, and experience of the private sector, therefore creating a mutually beneficial collaboration. This sits within our wider objective to develop strong partnerships and collaborations between the VCFSE sector, public sector and business and industry.

If you are a business and want to find out more or help in delivering social value in Cheshire East communities, please get in touch.


National social value resources:

Local social value resources:

Case Study

Local Congleton based charity, Ruby’s Fund, who run an inclusive sensory centre and social cafe for children and young people with additional needs and disabilities, were one of the first VCFSE organisations in Cheshire East to go through the SVA application process. Their Programme Development Manager, Helen Davies, has shared her experience of the process.

‘The Social Value Award was something that we felt would really help us to improve awareness of our organisation, expand our reach across Cheshire East, provide reassurance to commissioners / funders around our credibility and our commitment to social value. We genuinely want to get better at answering the ‘so what?’ question and deliver services that really matter, so we hope to use this as a stepping stone to meeting experts who can help us with this.’

Although Ruby’s Fund have only recently received their Award, they are expecting it to raise their profile and credibility across Cheshire East, further embed their commitment to Social Value, support them with their strategic plan towards income generation and sustainability and be a great conversation starter with funders, commissioners, and partners in the business sector.

Helen’s top SVA application tips:

  • Ensure commitments are ‘SMART’ (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound)
  • Quantify all delivery where possible
  • Be clear on where and how social outcome is demonstrated
  • Show clearly how outcomes will be measured and how you answer the ‘so what?’ question
  • Write the submission in a Word document first and paste into the form to make sure it doesn’t time out