Call for consultation on how to measure social value impact

By Melissa Coade

November 19, 2021

The document will be open for public comment via the Standards Australia Connect portal until December 3, 2021. (Rob Daly/KOTO/Adobe)

Standards Australia has opened consultation on its new handbook, Measuring Social Value – guidance on approach and methodologies.

The document, also known as SA HB 204, has been designed to guide decision-makers in the development of government budgets, policy development and more. According to Standards Australia, it also aims to give decision-makers clarity on the level of accuracy and validity of different social impact measurement approaches in their context so that they can match the level of rigour with the potential consequences of their decisions.

Huber Social led the development of the draft standard together with Sweef Capital, Trust Waikato (NZ) and Oxford University, and the Blavatnik School of Government.

Huber Social CEO Georgina Camp said the handbook is one of the first national standard documents focused on social value in the world, with the UK government publishing a similar handbook earlier this year and a Swedish equivalent soon to be published. 

“Social value as a measure is increasingly informing decisions across government budgets, procurement, policy development, legislation, private sector investment portfolios, and everyday decision making about what we buy, where we work, and who we vote for,” Camp said.

Social value impact presently has no national standardised framework or definition, which according to Standards Australia has resulted in a ‘fragmented market’ and varying approaches to how it is measured.

The draft handbook has been developed in response to this lack of common understanding and so that government decision-makers can be assured their approach to social value measurement is fit-for-purpose.

Social value measurement is a vital tool in understanding an organisation’s impact on a community or even the wider planet,” a statement on the agency website reads.

“Measuring social value can capture critical insights into employee wellbeing, solutions to complex social issues and ensure financial resources are efficiently used for a greater impact.”

In a statement, Standards Australia CEO Adrian O’Connell thanked those who contributed to the draft handbook and urged interested parties to participate in the consultation.

“We’re pleased to be one of the first national standards bodies to develop a handbook on social value,” O’Connell said.

The document will be open for public comment via the Standards Australia Connect portal until December 3, 2021.


‘Unacceptable’, ‘mediocre’, ‘sound’ — and nothing anywhere near ‘excellent’

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