Social Value

Ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, SLX asks the question: what is social value, and how can it help all businesses leave a positive legacy?

Birmingham’s 2022 Commonwealth Games are leading the way when it comes to putting social value front and centre, and here at SLX we’re delighted to be part of the team helping to deliver the event. This year, all tenders to the Games had to embed social value commitments, ensuring the event leaves a long-lasting and positive legacy on Birmingham.

Social value has been at the forefront of SLX’ priorities to become a more resilient business in a post-pandemic world, and we have made 15 commitments to deliver on all aspects of social value while completing the contract. These range from putting more local people in employment to investing in diversity and increasing support for mental health.

But what is social value? It is an umbrella term for the economic, social and environmental benefits delivered by organisations which contribute to the long-term wellbeing of individuals and communities. The concept of social value is being increasingly adopted by local governments. It is a practical way to quantify and demonstrate the impact of a project on society.

That word ‘quantify’ is the key – it isn’t just about committing to goals, but keeping track of the progress made on them. The Commonwealth Games are doing this by implementing the National Social Value Measurement Framework (or National TOMs Framework), which was created in 2017.

This resource is available to everyone, and you can find it online at Here you’ll find all kinds of information about how you can apply the framework, with free webinars and guides that introduce the basic concepts, as well as case studies to give useful examples. It’s a great place to start mapping your social value commitments.

TOMs stands for Themes, Outcomes and Measures. These are used to track progress on jobs, growth, social issues, the environment and innovation. Each of the 35 measures which record commitments to these themes have a fiscal proxy value, which quantifies the additional benefit that a project will have for society.

It has been really gratifying to see SLX’ commitments to social value recognised by the Games, and to share our journey with them as we help them deliver the event. Together we will be leaving a positive legacy within communities in Birmingham, but internally it has also made us look inward and reflect on how we are conducting business in our Bristol headquarters. It has been an incredibly insightful process, and has helped us refocus our values as the business continues its growth in 2022.