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Social Value

What is social value and why is it important for businesses

Social value in business refers to the positive impact that a company creates for society and the community through its activities. It goes beyond just making money. It's about doing things that make people's lives better and contribute to the overall wellbeing of communities.

The public sector and many large contractors that work for the public sector, take social value performance into account before awarding contracts to private businesses.

70% of employees say they would not work for a company without a strong purpose, customers are four times more likely to buy from a company with a strong purpose.

The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012, allows local authorities to take into consideration, in the award of contracts, any offer of additional community benefit which is over and above the specified requirements, where these meet the local authority’s priorities.

For Suffolk County Council social value helps to maximise the ‘Suffolk £’, develop growth in the local economy, improve our environment and health, wellbeing and safety by building stronger community resilience, mobility and improving educational attainment.

Find out about Suffolk County Council’s Social Value Ask

Social Value themes

Social value can include how an organisation supports the local economy, for example by helping local people into employment or buying from other local businesses; or activities that provide other benefits, such as promoting opportunities for disadvantaged groups or reducing the overall wellbeing of communities.

Social value embraces both CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance).

Two types of social value

Creating social value

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce creates social value in many ways:

Greene King

Greene King is committed to driving social and environmental change and promoting inclusion and diversity within its business, through its partnerships and in the communities it serves. Read about what Greene King is doing to be a positive force for good, with a social purpose that threads through every part of its business.

Abbeycroft Leisure

Abbeycroft Leisure generates £6.2 million of Social Value per annum in West Suffolk wards alone and works as part of the wider ‘Suffolk System’ as a willing and trusted partner to complement existing services and activity.

Suffolk Libraries

A comprehensive study of the wide range of services and activities Suffolk Libraries provides estimated that every £1 spent on Suffolk Libraries’ services creates £6 in ‘social value’. Read ‘An impact analysis of services of Suffolk Libraries January 2023’

Todds Removals

Todds Removals are committed to supporting our local community through various means

Barnes Construction

Social value has been at the core of Barnes Construction’s operations since 1978. 

RG Carter

We don’t just work with communities; our people are part of the communities in which we work.


As Toppesfield has grown so has its commitment to social value

Morgan Sindall

A combination of construction projects delivered by tier one contractor Morgan Sindall Construction and design consultancy Concertus has generated £12 million in social value for the Suffolk area.

Opportunities to create social value

Citizens Advice East Suffolk

In 2023/24 Citizens Advice East Suffolk (CAES) advised 8,425 clients with over 40,000 issues, producing income outcomes of over £4.5m for its clients. Citizens Advice East Suffolk helped to keep people in work, improve wellbeing and reduce homelessness.

Support either in-kind or financial will enable CAES to maintain its presence in East Suffolk and to continue to support the residents and communities in it. Given the current economic climate, CAES are struggling with increased demand and higher overheads.

Support could include:

  • providing volunteers - CAES volunteers come from a range of backgrounds
  • financial support - either one off or regular donations
  • practical support (IT, health and safety audit, social media - setting up accounts, general office support - filing, etc) or
  • support in kind (office furniture, laptops, stationery, promotional materials, etc)

Suffolk Community Foundation

Suffolk Community Foundation is perfectly positioned to help organisations implement their Social Value initiatives through its unique position as the county’s largest grantmaker to the voluntary sector.

Deeply connected to Suffolk’s local communities, it works with over 3,000 charities and 10,000 community groups to ensure that they receive the vital funding they require to address need in Suffolk.

Providing evidence of your social value

  • How are you contributing to economic wellbeing?
  • How are you reducing your environmental impact?
  • How are you helping your community?
  • Put together case studies – Showing not just what you do, but also how you make it happen for example: What we do – e.g. Buy locally; How we do it – Examples of your local supply chains
  • Use the case studies to promote your business and win new customers

Suffolk Supply Chain & Social Value

Suffolk Supply Chain has been created in a partnership between Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and Suffolk County Council’s Economic Development team.

The Suffolk Supply Chain team is committed to advancing the circular economy in Suffolk by providing businesses with access to a network of suppliers, buyers and partners within the Suffolk.

Suffolk Supply Chain promotes the creation of social value by facilitating partnerships with local organisations, charities and community initiatives. This allows your business to contribute to the betterment of Suffolk while enhancing your brand’s reputation.

The Suffolk Supply Chain website has a Resources Hub with information specifically designed to help local businesses harness the power of social value.

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