Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 15.25.56A QUESTION Time-style panel event is being held on 4 June for SMEs keen to find out about how creating successful social value strategies can help them win more work as well as benefit the wider community.

Hosted by employment and training specialists Ingeus UK, the Social Value in Business event will give the audience chance to submit questions to a panel of organisations who have successfully embraced the Social Value Act 2013. This requires public authorities to consider wider social and environmental benefits when putting work out to tender, rather than focussing exclusively on price and quality.

The idea for the event came from a recent project in partnership with Ingeus and Isos Housing Association called Venture+, which set out to support and coach SMEs with social value, and the research showed that there was a low awareness of social value.

Panel speakers include Bob Paton, chairman of the North East LEP and managing director of Accenture, Darush Dodds, added value manager at Esh Group, Simon Hanson, North East development manager at Federation of Small Businesses and Hannah Underwood, CEO at The Key. Each panel member will have five minutes to outline how social value benefits their organisation, before the floor is open to questions.

Mandi O’Shea, head of skills projects at Ingeus said:  “The idea for the event came in response to feedback from businesses who told us they were unsure about the benefits of social value, and how to put it into practice.

“The Social Value Act has had a major impact on public sector procurement and is becoming  increasingly popular in private sector decision making, and SMEs need to understand the implications if they are not to be left behind.

“Successfully adding social value into corporate objectives is about doing things that are visible and measurable. For instance our work helping organisations set up initiatives such as apprenticeship and traineeship programmes demonstrates how these can often be the first steps towards an effective social value strategy.”

More than half of the available places have already been booked at the, free ticket-only event, which takes place at Dance City in Newcastle on Thursday, June 4 and includes an informal lunch and networking session.

Panel member Darush Dodds of Esh Group will be explaining how social value has to meet the business case: “At Esh Group delivering social value directly supports our commercial operation.”

“Engaging communities is not just about the bricks and mortar of what we build, it’s about the people who live there. We are proactive in communities where we are looking to win more business, and reactive in areas where we are already embedded so it’s a continuous and sustainable process.”

“Incorporating social value will help you stand out from competitors but simply throwing money at a community project and then making a noise about it is not the same as adding real social value.

“I’m looking forward to helping other businesses understand how they can make a similar positive difference to their surrounding communities.”

A recent survey by Social Enterprise UK of 200 public leaders showed that 71% felt social value had resulted in better services, and 52% felt it had brought cost savings.

To book a place at the Social Value in Business event contact events@vickistonemarketing.co.uk.