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Header image for the current page Working together to maximise social value in healthcare

Working together to maximise social value in healthcare

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Embedding social value within health and care systems has the potential to improve resilience, sustainability and integration while also contributing to a happier, healthier workforce.

But knowing where to start and helping stakeholders to understand the strategic relevance can be a challenge. Meeting this challenge was the focus of Arden & GEM’s recent webinar ‘Raising social value standards in healthcare’ which took place on 23 November 2023 and was co-hosted with Social Value Quality Mark CIC. Colleagues from the NHS and wider public sector came together with private and voluntary sector participants to share their experiences and learn more about the support available to achieve their social value ambitions.

You can view the full webinar recording below, or read on for a summary of the discussions.

Social value as a lever to meeting healthcare challenges

The event was chaired and opened by Arden & GEM’s Executive Director of Strategy and Innovation, Alison Tonge. Alison outlined some of the key challenges currently facing the health sector, including COVID recovery, workforce vacancies and unrest, measuring productivity and reducing waiting lists.

Alison talked about the golden thread between social value aims and these strategic challenges, giving tangible examples of how these align. For example, when thinking about jobs and employment, the NHS has a plan to train, retain and reform its workforce (the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan) which sits alongside the desired social value outcomes of promoting local skills and employment by offering training and opportunities for young people and disadvantaged people.

All public sector organisations need to recognise that, as anchor institutions, our sustainability is ultimately tied to the wellbeing of the populations we serve.

Industry is key to maximising social value

The next speaker was Dave Sweeney, Associate Director of Partnerships and Sustainability at NHS Cheshire and Merseyside; one of the largest ICSs in the country. Dave asked the audience to think about the power of social value and how they can be advocates to prevent social value from falling down the ‘pecking order’ on an increasingly busy to do list for boards.

Dave acknowledged that not all ICBs have existing social value expertise within their workforce, which is where initiatives like the Social Value Quality Mark Health Award and the Social Value Network come in. They can support people in defining what social value means for their organisation and what can be achieved through this policy driver.

Dave also spoke about the crucial role of industry and how we cannot meet our social value ambitions without their involvement. Within Cheshire and Merseyside, over 90 local suppliers have already achieved the criteria for a regional social value award. And through the national Health Award and the Social Value Network, we can tease out what can be enabled by involving big industry and securing their buy-in.

Accreditation is about making your impact go further

Our next contributor, Richard Dickins, Managing Director and Founder at Social Value Quality Mark (SVQM) CIC, continued this theme by introducing the UK-wide Social Value Quality Mark Health. In designing the Award, SVQM has built upon its knowledge and insight of social value, by working with NHS Arden & GEM, to understand how this relates to the health sector.

SVQM has already awarded 200 standards in the UK – including to four NHS Trusts – to support organisations to convert their enthusiasm for social value into action. Richard explained that accreditation is not just about celebrating success, it’s about learning, developing and enabling a greater impact in challenging times. “Harnessing the power of communities, people, processes and supply chains allows far greater results when faced with a limited budget, a changing world and a cost-of-living crisis.”

The SVQM Health has a simple 9-step process to enable organisations and systems to undertake this which is outlined here.

Creating a world where everyone matters

Our fifth speaker, Claire Walker, Head of Quality and Business Support from voluntary sector organisation, Inspire North was able to elaborate on their own social value journey to achieving SVQM Bronze and Silver accreditation.

In its charitable work with vulnerable people – including those with mental health issues and dementia, experiencing homelessness, and survivors and perpetrators of domestic abuse – Inspire North was already delivering a huge amount of social value. They just didn’t know how to capture it. Which was becoming increasingly important in an environment where they needed to stand out against competitors and include evidence in tender applications.

By going through the Award process, Inspire North has been able to understand its starting point, develop a co-production approach with colleagues and trustees, and implement the right processes, systems, and engagement. Claire summarised the benefits of accreditation as being able to showcase experience and commitment, document a tangible impact and strengthen bid responses. One of her top tips for others was the importance of understanding all stakeholder perspectives to get buy-in, especially those on the ground working directly with patients and service users.

Joining the movement

Our next presenter was Becky Jones, Social Value Specialist at NHS Arden & GEM and Social Value Lead at the Social Value Network, who focused on the support available to organisations looking to make this journey.

Becky encouraged everyone to get involved by joining the social value movement and creating a collaborative, joined-up approach for the health sector.

Embedding social value from the board to the back office

Our final speaker for the day was Greg Ayles, Head of Bids and International Workforce Solutions at TTM Healthcare, a healthcare talent management company offering temporary, permanent and international solutions for the private, public and voluntary sectors.

Greg explained why social value matters at TTM and their decision to brand social value as ‘positive impact’ to help connect different models and language from the UK and the Republic of Ireland. To embed their social value approach from the board to the back-office, impact pillars have been created alongside a dedicated playbook chapter and inclusion in the business’s values, known as ‘Family Principles’. Greg shared how TTM has inextricably linked positive impact with its vision as a business which is to become ‘3x’ the size to generate ‘10x’ the positive impact.

We would like to thank all the speakers and attendees who joined the session. You can access the full slide pack here

Find out more about the Social Value Network here.

If you are interested in applying for the Social Value Quality Mark Health, please visit the website and quote referral code NHSAG in your application.