Delivering Social Value: How Inner Circle helps organisations make lasting positive impact


Friday, 21 July

By Subiya Pryce-Kennedy, Managing Consultant at Inner Circle Consulting


At Inner Circle we are committed to making a positive impact on society. We know that our success lies in the success of future public sector leaders to maintain their organisations’ relevance and viability. To build a better future for all, integrating social value into our services and core operations is a must.


What is social value?

Social value embraces the interconnected dimensions of the economy, environment, and society, with a common goal of enhancing the wellbeing and quality of life for individuals and communities, not just in the present, but for future generations as well.


The Public Service (Social Value) Act 2013 requires public sector organisations to consider how the services they commission and procure can improve the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of an area.


In today’s rapidly evolving world – where climate change, Covid, austerity policies and the cost of living crisis have exposed deep inequalities and challenges to the way we live – the importance of social value has gained significant recognition among organisations seeking sustainable change.


How do we embed social value in our projects?

Delivering social value is an integral part of every project we undertake at Inner Circle – whether or not it forms part of the procurement process. We work with every client from the outset to identify and understand their social value objectives, tailoring our social value commitments in the work to align with their vision. Thus, we create a framework for maximising positive outcomes and leaving a lasting impact.


How do we embed social value as an organisation?

Inner Circle is committed to recreating consultancy as a regenerative partnership with organisations, not an extractive economy that takes and moves on. We think a 21st century consultancy must not just dig deep to answer the challenges of our lifetimes but also advocate more assertively for public sector support, policy change and people-centred models of sustainable, place-based growth.


Within Inner Circle we understand the importance of building representative teams in order to create solutions that speak to multiple communities’ experiences. Our current staff profile is evenly split between men and women and of our permanent staff team, around half are from non-White British backgrounds. In total, there are around 15 different nationalities represented at Inner Circle and more than 10 different languages spoken. We have dedicated staff groups focused on supporting women, disabled people, people of colour and the LGBTQ+ community. Inner Circle has been accredited by the City of London’s Good Work Standard, an endorsement of our approach to fair, diverse, equal and equitable employment practices.


We have also made significant environmental commitments. Inner Circle operates an Environmental Management System in accordance with ISO standards on reducing carbon emissions, resource efficiency and supporting the circular economy. We have also joined the United Nations’ Race to Zero campaign and signed up to the UN Climate Pledge to be net zero carbon across our business by 2040.


What is our approach to social value?

We understand that collaboration is key to delivering meaningful social value. We engage with all relevant stakeholders, including clients, local communities, and beneficiaries, to ensure their voices are heard. Every new project presents unique opportunities to learn about and develop new ways to generate social value by identifying opportunities within the specific context and needs of a project and community.


How can we tell if our approach is working?

Measuring outcomes is key to understanding the true impact of our efforts. Not only does it allow us to gauge the effectiveness of our social value initiatives, it also enables us to make informed decisions about future endeavours. We evaluate all our social value initiatives through surveys and data analysis and we gather insights from stakeholders and beneficiaries.


What social value have we delivered?


Case study 1: Southwark Council

We offered Council staff a free placement on the accredited Association of Project Management training programme, specifically the Project Management Fundamentals course. Our client asked us to extend the place to a local resident they had identified, someone who lacked easy access to such resources and could generate great positive change by enhancing their skills and knowledge. By helping this individual access valuable and accredited training, we’re supporting positive change in one person’s life and also contributing to the development and prosperity of Southwark as a whole.


Case study 2: Liverpool City Council

We established a programme of work experience as part of our contracted work with Liverpool City Council, so that talented graduates could see the enormous range of jobs and opportunities in local government, have hands-on experience and the opportunity to be part of a talent pipeline for LCC.


One graduate on the scheme told us: “My interest in public policy and local government has been enhanced from my experience at ICC. It has been extremely interesting to move from distant education learning, at university, to an inside view of the machinery and scale of local government. This has been eye opening for me, as it has enabled me to view how local government helps change people’s lives for the better – one of the key reasons behind my interest in politics”



Prioritising social value strengthens our relationships with clients who value socially responsible partnerships. It also helps us to attract and retain talented professionals driven to make a positive difference. Furthermore, embedding social value into our contracts enables us to contribute to community development long after our project is completed, and to be part of positive change in the future.

At Inner Circle we believe not only in doing good business, but that business should do good. And we believe it’s what all strong public sector partners should be doing, in order to support and build a public sector that’s ready for the future.