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The Social Impact Measurement Case Studies were commissioned by Social Enterprise East of England (SEEE) on behalf of a Capacity Builders project called Information, Networking and Influence. They were researched and written by Kate Lee from CityLife. SEEE is a membership and networking organisation for social enterprises and development agencies. We also have a strategic influence on national, regional and local policy relating to social enterprise. Our primary aim is to support and promote the social enterprise sector in the East of England. Social enterprises are businesses that have social or environmental objectives; they reinvest their surpluses into the business or the wider community. They are organisations interested in overcoming social injustice or exclusion and contributing to society.


Social Impact Measurement Case studies

Social Accounting Principles at East Cambridgeshire District Council What is East Cambridgeshire District Council? ast Cambridgeshire is a largely rural district covering an area of almost 65,500 hectares, with a population of approximately 74,600. As a local authority, East Cambridgeshire District Council (ECDC) provides a broad range of activities, products and services in their community. One of the Council’s roles is to provide funding for voluntary and community organisations (also know as VCOs) ECDC provides funding to VCOs through their small grants scheme and purchases services from four VCOs through Service Level Agreements (SLA). An SLA is an negotiated agreement between the local authority and service provider normally not subject to the tendering process. ECDC have SLAs with four organisations: Ely and District Citizens’ Advice Bureau; Newmarket Citizens’ Advice Bureau; Cambridgeshire Community Founda-

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tion; and Voluntary and Community Action East Cambridgeshire. This case study will discuss how ECDC improved the monitoring and evaluation procedures for their SLAs with these organisations. Ely & District Citizens Advice Bureau (Ely CAB) and Newmarket Citizens Advice Bureau (Newmarket CAB) are local independent charities that provide free, confidential and impartial advice to local people and have specialist caseworkers in money & debt advice.

Social Accounting Principles at East Cambridgeshire District Council

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Social Impact Measurement Case studies

The Cambridgeshire Community Foundation (CCF) is an independent charity established in 2004 to provide grant making and fund management service to their donors, which include; individuals, businesses, local authorities and charitable trusts. CCF aims to make a real difference to the quality of life for local people through their grantmaking which has amounted to, in partnership with other donors, over £2 million distributed to over seven hundred community projects across Cambridgeshire. Voluntary and Community Action East Cambridgeshire (VCAEC) provides support services for local voluntary, community and charitable organisations. The services provided include training, networking opportunities, newsletters, volunteer support, promote good practice, policy guidance and more. What is social accounting? Social Accounting allows organisations to clarify, measure and evidence the benefits they create for stakeholders; to the environment and to the local economy. Social Accounting enables an organisation to articulate to funders, donors and other stakeholders the value created by the activities undertaken that can not be financially measured or quantified by output criteria. It helps organisations to improve their accountability to, and relationships with stakeholders and provides the information organisations need to improve their social, environmental

and economic performance. There are a number of social accounting toolkits available, including the Social Audit Network’s Social Accounting and Audit (www.socialauditnetwork.org.uk); the new economics foundation’s Proving and Improving (www.proveandimprove. org); and a number of smaller, bespoke tools that have been developed for individual organisations or sectors. While the detail of each of these processes differs, there are some key steps which are common to most Social Accounting Methods. These are: 1. Setting up Clarifying the benefits sought, resources available and people responsible 2. Aspirations Identifying the changes the organisation is trying to achieve and the services and products it will provide in order to achieve these changes 3. Stakeholders Identifying the organisation’s key stakeholders, e.g. staff, funders, service users, and getting their input into the process. 4. Data collection Designing and implementing a data collection plan 5. Reporting Collecting, analysing and presenting the data gathered in formats appropriate for the planned audiences, and then learning from the process and implementing any required changes


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Identifying some desired social and environmental outcomes and measuring progress towards these; Using case studies to illustrate descriptions of work done; Calculating the value of volunteers (i.e. what would have been paid to equivalent employees).

What did East Cambridgeshire District Council do?

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CDC undertook a project to incorporate elements of the social accounting process into the monitoring procedures associated with the four SLAs issued to VCOs. ECDC aimed to increase the amount of relevant and useful information they were receiving, while reducing the monitoring burden for the SLA providers. The consultant on the project worked with ECDC to identify what

information was already collected, and decide what additional information would be useful. As a result, the monitoring procedures were changed; new information was requested, information that had been being collected became redundant and quarterly monitoring meetings, bringing together all parties, were introduced. The providers were also asked to design a new structure for their reports, and invited the VCO’s to evaluate the Council’s performance in the management of the SLAs. The introduction of the quarterly meetings allowed the groups to: • • •

Discuss the activities of each organisation and present monitoring reports; Discuss how organisations were contributing to the strategic plans of the Council; Discuss developing needs and issues in communities, and provide updates on policies, future developments and funding news; Progress work around social accounting and work together to develop a robust and fair way of evaluating the services provided.

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Social Accounting Principles at East Cambridgeshire District Council

Reporting can be followed by a Social Audit, which, just like a financial audit, assesses and verifies the reliability of the report that has been produced. ECDC did not want to ask their SLA providers to measure their full social, environmental and economic effects in the first instance, preferring a more gradual introduction. For this reason a full social accounting process was not undertaken and, instead, some principles of social accounting, were adopted. These included:


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Social Impact Measurement Case studies

The changes made to the information reported to ECDC by the providers are captured below:

Before changes the information collected included: • • • • • • • •

Opening hours Number of enquiries (new and repeat) Number of paid staff and hours worked Number of volunteers and hours worked Training sessions undertaken by staff Number of trainees Number of formal complaints Assessment of client satisfaction

After changes the information collected included: • General update (as listed on the left hand side) • Outline of future issues arisin • Case study • Number of volunteers (and hours) • Number volunteers/staff going through accredited training • Staff turnover/growth-Compact meetings attended • Local Strategic Partnership involvement • Additional funding drawn and sources • Equality and diversity Environmental action plan Added value

The work undertaken by ECDC represents an innovative step - encouraging SLA providers to shape the way their funded activity is monitored. The changes made in the information collected demonstrate the change in focus,from the products and services provided by the organisations,to more valuable information about their growth,achievements and understanding of the environment in which they work.


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he each of the organisations involved in the project have found differing experiences with the implementation of the new monitoring system. Some of the challenges included:Initial difficulties with developing a common reporting format that didn’t create a significant amount of additional work for any participants;The amount of time required for meetings and report writing was a struggle for some providers; One provider felt the social accounting process was more relevant for the organisations who receive a larger proportion of their core funding from ECDC.The figures used to calculate some areas of the economic value generated by the organisations required careful thought; comparability (values that allowed comparison between organisations) needed to be balanced with accuracy (figures that closely represented actual values). ECDC has benefited significantly from the project. They have gained independent information about current community issues; a space for conversation and collaboration involving the Third Sector; a clearer understanding of what public money is buying; a better understanding of value in the broader sense; and feedback on their performance direct from Third Sector. As a result ECDC are now undertaking similar work with some of their other SLAs.

Many of the participants in the gained great benefits from the project: •

The quarterly monitoring meetings were enjoyed by the participants, who benefited from sharing information with the other groups; understanding the key issues others are facing, and hearing about recent work and successes. Others gained from introducing new policies and reporting frameworks into their organisations. One participant introduced an environmental policy into their organisation for the first time, and began recycling immediately. A participant commented on the reporting framework introduced: “When first asked to become involved in a pilot project with [ECDC] I felt the whole thing would be resource costly but...I now have a format that I can use for reporting to any of my funders.  It gives me statistics at my fingertips and the added value aspect of my report was an eye opener! I now feel confident in saying “If you want to know if we are worth the investment, just look at the added value this organisation has helped

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Social Accounting Principles at East Cambridgeshire District Council

What were the snags and benefits to undertaking social impact measurement?


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Social Impact Measurement Case studies

Social Return on Investment at The Ferry Project

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he Ferry Project is a registered charity that has been providing housing, training and employment opportunities to homeless people in Fenland since 1999. The Ferry Project is currently embarking on a new venture, Octavia View. This will be a large centre, in Wisbech, with accommodation and training services for homeless people, as well as an extensive and varied community facility. The Ferry Project at Octavia View will provide accommodation, medical care, education, training, voluntary opportunities and other support to those who would otherwise be street homeless. Through the provision of these services, the Ferry Project aims to help service users begin to live independently again, having improved their mental, physical and emotional health, and their employability and work skills.

Louise is 42 and suffers from mental health issues associated with her childhood and adult relationships. She is a drinker and this is preventing her from having access to her two adolescent children. She wants to deal with these issues and see her children. The Ferry Project supports Louise, working together with Drinksense, to manage her drinking and hopefully to come off alcohol altogether. This will allow her to get access to mental health services and deal with her underlying problems. The project will then help her to resettle in her own accommodation where she can restore her relationship with her children. Sean is 32 and is a heroine addict who has recently started to use methadone to try to overcome his addiction. Sean has a chaotic life

Social Return on Investment at The Ferry Project

What is the Ferry Project?

Two example profiles of the Ferry Project’s service users are given below. The details have been madeup as these are examples only. The profiles each represent about 40% of the users of the Ferry Project:


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Social Impact Measurement Case studies

style but engages well with the staff at the Ferry Project. He stays at the hostel for two years, during which time he takes part in a range of volunteering and educational activities that fit with his aspirations and abilities. Sean reviews his own progress regularly and, in this way, becomes motivated towards setting his own goals and achieving them. Sean, therefore, begins to realise that he can take control of his life and achieve meaningful goals that matter to him.

What is Social Return on Investment? Social Return on Investment (SROI) is an approach to understanding and managing the impacts of an organisation. It tells the story of how an organisation creates the social impacts its stakeholders want, and then seeks to express these in financial terms. Examples of this that have been used in the Ferry Project SROI are explained below: 1.

Homeless people living on the street are more likely than the

2.

rest of the population to be the victim of an assault. Therefore, by accommodating homeless people, the Ferry Project reduces the rate of assault in the local area. This results in a direct financial saving for the police (as each assault has associated costs for the call out, the investigation, etc.) This saving can be used to value this social impact of the Ferry Project. The Ferry Project seeks to improve the physical health of its residents through offering secure accommodation, medical care and access to other health providers. There is no direct financial saving for the residents if their physical health improves so a proxy (a value that is deemed to give a close approximation of the real value) can be used. In this case the proxy used was the cost of local gym membership (ÂŁ38/ month). This was considered to represent how much local people would pay for improved physical health.

SROI allows you describe and explain, based on evidence, how your organisation creates social value. The use of financial values means that it is also possible to calculate a social return ratio - the amount of social value you create for every ÂŁ1 invested. This can help funders and other stakeholders to understand


SROI is guided by a set of principles and conducted in four stages. These are described below: 1. Boundary setting and impact mapping: Establish what will be measured and what will not, identify important stakeholders (such as staff, service users, local community), and think about how you expect to create change through the activities you do. 2. Collecting data: Decide upon indicators that will show you whether you are achieving the benefits/changes you seek and financial values and proxies (as described above) for these. Collect the data you need. 3. Modelling and calculating: Look at who invests into the project (e.g. funders invest money, service users invest time in attending etc.), add up the benefits that will be achieved and calculate the social return ratio. 4. Reporting and embedding: Prepare the SROI report, communicate the findings to stakeholders and embed the learning into the organisation What did the Ferry Project do? The Ferry Project decided to use Social Return on Investment (SROI) to forecast the social value that will be created by Octavia View enabling the board to illustrate the benefits to the

local community, potential funders and investors. Investors, in particular, need to know the financial returns that will be achieved. The SROI process began with a meeting of key members who were involved with the development of Octavia View to decide what SROI would deliver and the changes that the they wanted to achieve. Key stakeholders - two funders, the services users and the local community - were identified and a plan was made for getting their input into the SROI process. It is important to have the input of stakeholders into deciding what information needs to be collected by the SROI process to satisfy their information needs. Primary and secondary research was carried out to determine what the different stakeholder groups wanted; the centre to deliver, what changes they wanted to see among service users and changes in the local community. The desired changes included: • Increased educational skills; • Increased motivation; • Increased ability to manage money; • Increased ability to manage tenancy/accommodation; • Decreased drug misuse; • Decreased risk of being a victim of crime. After establishing the desired changes or outcomes required, indicators that could be used to measure progress towards each outcome were decide upon and distributed within the organisation and amongst service users for approval.

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Social Return on Investment at The Ferry Project

the social value you create in terms they understand.


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Social Impact Measurement Case studies

Below is an example extracted from the SROI table produced for the Ferry Outcome

Indicators

Financial values/proxies

Decreased drug misuse

Level of drug use Rate of use of drug cessation support services

Cost of drugs Cost of drug cessation support services

Ferry Projects experience of the SROI process

As the Ferry Project progresses with their SROI, a meeting will be held with a range of stakeholders to forecast how many service users are likely to achieve each of the specified outcomes. Once this has been done, the social return can be calculated and the result of this, and the wider story of the change that will be created by Octavia View, can be published in a report and presented to all stakeholders.

The Ferry Project regards the input from the local community into Octavia View as of up most importance. They want the community to understand, support and value the centre as an excellent community facility, that provides much needed support and accommodation for people who would otherwise be street homeless in Wisbech. The Ferry Project embarked upon the SROI process to demonstrate the potential value of the project to potential volunteers, community users and financial investors. The Ferry Project hoped that SROI would illustrate the potential social value of the project in a way that the local population, and the other stakeholders, could understand. Keith Smith, Director of the Ferry Project, commented: “For us, the local benefit is a key selling point, so anything that demonstrates this is a big help to us.�


More information on SROI is available on the SROI Network website at http://www.sroi-uk. org/. Alternatively, to discuss SROI and its suitability for your organisation, you can contact Kate Lee Social Accounting Project Manager at CItylife on 01223 323481 or kate@citylifeltd.org.

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Social Return on Investment at The Ferry Project

In addition the Ferry Project hopes to gain from SROI,support for fundraising and better communication with key stakeholders. SROI will help the Ferry Project demonstrate their social return - a key necessity in both these areas - the process will also promote their engagement with their stakeholders. Hence, this offers significant benefits in the development of their fundraising and communication strategies. The engagement with stakeholders also has advantages for the stakeholders, as they feel listened too and valued for the thoughts and ideas they contribute. The Ferry Project will, as a result of the SROI, become clear about exactly what benefit they bring to the local community. This will give them a clear focus for the organisation from which they can move forward in future years.  The only snag that the Ferry Project has found with the SROI process is a lack of staff time to carry out an SROI, hence they used an external consultant for the process. The Ferry Project have been fortunate that this has been grant funded for them; without this they would probably not have been able to go ahead. The Ferry Project are now hopeful that once their board sees the benefit of the Octavia View SROI, they will be willing to undertake this process again. SROI can be conducted in-house by staff or by consultants, the SROI for the Ferry Project is being carried out on a consultancy basis by Kate Lee at Citylife.


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Social Impact Measurement Case studies

• What is the Harambee Centre?

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he Harambee Centre is a Development Education Centre which aims to raise awareness of, and promote action on, global issues. It has been providing high quality development education services to schools, local authorities, universities, youth services and young people in Cambridgeshire for the past 20 years. Taking its name from the Swahili word for ‘working in partnership’, Harambee currently works in partnership with over 50 local, national and international organisations. Harambee provides resources, training, advice, information and a range of innovative educational projects which aim to:

Enable people to understand the links between their own lives and those of people throughout the world; Develop skills, attitudes and values which enable people to work together to bring about change and take control of their own lives; Work towards achieving a more just and sustainable world in which power and resources are more equitably shared.

An Outcomes Focus at The Harambee Centre

An Outcomes Focus at The Harambee Centre


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Social Impact Measurement Case studies

Harambee’s team of 6 development education advisors and consultants currently influence over 5000 young people each year through school based workshops, youth clubs and community events. Examples of projects which the Harambee Centre has recently run include: • Providing specialist advice, training and curriculum development services for educationalists throughout the East of England to enhance and embed the global dimension in education; • ‘Global Youth Work’ projects, which have influenced over 500 young people and youth workers through their active engagement with global issues; • Managing innovative education projects such as Perceptions of Africa’ which uses new teaching methodologies for challenging pupils’ perceptions of Africa.

from a different point when beginning to look at outcomes but all work through the same cycle. This cycle, and some of the key terms, are described below:

Aims describe why the organisation exists and the broad differences it wants to make. An example for the Harambee Centre might be to increase young people’s ability and willingness to work together to bring about change and take control of their own lives. Objectives describe the planned areas of activity, through which an organisation will achieve its aims. An example objective for the Harambee Centre might be workshops, lessons and youth groups educating young people about global issues. Outputs are the actual activities, services and products provided by an organisation. An output of the Harambee Centre is the lessons they deliver to students.

What is an outcomes focus? Adopting an outcomes focus is a simple process. It is very likely that you are already doing a lot of the work required, such as recording the activities that you do. All organisations are starting

Outcomes are the actual changes or benefits an organisation brings about through the products or services it delivers. An outcome of the Harambee Centre is increased understanding of global issues among students who receive their lessons.


Outcomes Champions, trained by Charities Evaluation Services, are located across the country and can provide the training and support you need to adopt an outcomes focus in your organisation. They will always give you help that is specific to your organisation. Kate Lee is a registered Outcomes Champion based in Cambridge. If you would like any more information about the outcomes focus or the availability of training, please get in touch with Kate on 01223 323481, or by emailing kate@citylifeltd.org What did the Harambee Centre do? Four members of the Harambee Centre attended a two-day outcomes training course delivered by Kate Lee, an Outcomes Champion based at Citylife, Cambridge. The Harambee Centre sought a number benefits from the outcomes focus, and has started to work towards realising many of these. The benefits sought and the progress made are described below: •

Improve the monitoring and evaluation of work, ensuring outcomes, and not just outputs, are being measured The outcomes cycle on the previous page helps organisations identify the outcomes they want to achieve and then collect information that

Improve access to funding by ensuring bids are outcomes focused Being clear about the outcomes that different activities will achieve allows organisations to produce bids that effectively and concisely describe projects and the changes they will effect. The Harambee Centre has used the outcomes focus to apply for funding; describing to funders how the planned activities will help them to achieve change amongst the individuals and communities targeted by the project.

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An Outcomes Focus at The Harambee Centre Council

shows the progress they are making towards them. The Harambee Centre, for example, might want to increase the understanding of global issues among students who receive their lessons. They could use a questionnaire to ask teachers whether they think their students’ understanding has increased as a result of the lessons. Gathering this information and being able to say, for example, ’the Harambee Centre has increased the understanding of global issues among 95% of students who have attended their training’, would add great weight to promotional material and reports.


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Social Impact Measurement Case studies

Prove and improve the efficiency with which the organisation is being run By allowing organisations to evaluate which activities are contributing most to their desired outcomes, the outcomes focus can help organisations assess their efficiency. When inefficiency is found, the outcomes focus gives the information required for improvements to be made. As the Harambee Centre progresses with the outcomes focus, they will be able to identify which projects are contributing best to their outcomes and will then be able to reassess resource allocation in light of this information.

by showing them the ‘bigger picture’ to which their work will contribute. •

Explore the potential uses of an outcomes focus in professional development Outcomes can also be employed in professional development,as a tool through which staff can be encouraged to set and work towards their own goals. At the Harambee Centre, all job descriptions are being reviewed with an emphasis on making them more outcomes focussed. For example, the Centre Coordinator’s old job description might have specified ‘offering regular line

Explore the potential uses of an outcomes focus in strategic development An outcomes focus can be used to shape the long term strategy of an organisation by helping to set an overall aim towards which all future work will contribute. This aim can be the basis for future strategy; shaping new projects and assisting in decision making. At the Harambee Centre, work has begun towards developing an outcomes focussed strategic plan. This will help them to efficiently describe their aims and objectives; uniting members around common goals and motivating staff and volunteers

management meetings to all staff’. A more outcomes focussed description, however, might specify ’increasing staff’s confidence and productivity through support’. It would then be the Centre Coordinator’s job to support the other staff members in whatever way them deemed most suitable, in order to achieve the outcome of


What were the snags and benefits to undertaking social impact measurement? The journey towards an outcomes focus for the Harambee Centre has not all been easy. Despite having a much better understanding of the terminology involved, it can still be confusing when different organisations and bodies use the terms in different ways. In addition, when the members of the organisation all came together to try to chart the aims, objectives and outcomes of the organisation, the task became quite difficult, with different members expressing different ideas about the work the organisation does and the individuals and communities that should benefit from it. While this highlights an important area for future development, it also presented the team with a challenge that needs to be overcome in order to move forwards productively. The Harambee Centre may elect to ask Kate, their Outcomes Champion, to provide some additional support in this area. In spite of these difficulties, the members of the Harambee Centre are still enthused by the process, and determined to continue to adopt an outcomes focus. They have found the focus on outcomes

helps them to reflect on, and improve, the efficiency and effectiveness of their work; allowing a focus on the changes they are creating, rather than the activities they are doing. At least one member of the centre, has also found the focus on outcomes “inspirational”: From the

outset, the process concentrates on the positives - looking at what change the organisation is there to achieve - and this focus on the purpose of the organisation, rather than just figures and targets, helps the members of the Harambee Centre to remember what their work is all about. Below is a quote from a youth worker for whose group the Harambee Centre provided a workshop, commenting on the long-term outcomes that were achieved: “Thinking globally has benefited our practice by increasing awareness of issues that affect us on a daily basis.  The Pink Pandas youth group were so empowered by their citizenship project in year 7 that they have continued to see the world with global eyes. This energy and enthusiasm was stimulated by a 20 minute workshop from Harambee one lunchtime four years ago and has become the group’s legacy.”

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An Outcomes Focus at The Harambee Centre

increased confidence and productivity..This will motivate and inspire staff members as they build on their own strengths in order to efficiently achieve their targets.


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Social Impact Measurement Case Studies  

Social Impact Measurement is the process of providing evidence that your organisation provides real and tangible benefit to other people in...

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