We create social value.
Our creative and strategic approach to social value creation helps developers, infrastructure clients and contractors who want to proactively create meaningful social benefits throughout the project lifecycle. By starting at the earliest opportunity, we help maximise total return on investment, reduce inequalities, and deliver impactful community benefits based on local needs.
As a Social Enterprise, social value creation and social inclusion is in our DNA. Our team of social value consultants includes designers, strategists, engineers, management consultants and communications specialists who are all passionate about maximising benefits of development projects for people: for local residents and businesses, for customers, for staff.
Development and infrastructure projects
For many years, the focus of social value has been on the procurement and construction stages of projects, largely because that is the focus of the Social Value Act. There is now widespread recognition that social value can, and should, be created over the whole lifecycle of projects, from investment stage, through design and construction, to operation, renewal and end-of-life. By starting at the earliest stages, positive impact can be maximised – so we like to get stuck in as early as possible.
Our research shows that strategic planning and concept design phases are where most value can be created yet they are often overlooked. Our team is currently working on the Meridian Water development in Enfield, where we are collaborating with the client, design team and key stakeholders during concept design for a bridge to identify opportunities for social value generation and evaluate different options.
Services for developers & infrastructure clients:
- Options analysis support at investment stage (evaluation of options for where/how to invest to maximise positive social impact)
- Business case development to include non-financial benefits
- Social Value Strategy for projects
- Local Needs Analysis
- Definition of outcomes
- Key steps for ensuring social value will be created throughout design, procurement, construction and operation
- Social Return on Investment (SROI) study
- Evaluation of completed projects to determine whether social impact goals have been met and lessons learned
Services for design teams and contractors:
- Embedding social value into design
- Stakeholder engagement and co-design
- Social value statements for planning
- Procurement and tender support
- Social value action plans for construction
- Identification and development of high impact social value interventions during construction
- Case studies and communications support
Useful Projects also works at the organisation-level to develop forward-thinking and impactful social value strategies, and build understanding and capacity from boardroom to construction site. For example, a major multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy recently appointed us to help them develop their corporate social value strategy. We were praised for our practical and engaging approach.
Services for organisations:
- Corporate social value policy and strategy
- Social value training, capacity building and board-level mentoring
We also conduct social value research studies for institutions. Our major research report ‘Maximising Social Value from Infrastructure Projects’, which was co-funded by the Institution of Civil Engineers R&D Enabling Fund, was published in June 2020 and has been very well received across the built environment sector.