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Thursday 27th October 2016

Making public money work harder

25th February 2011

A method that helps health organisations improve whole lives and communities, not just health, will be launched by the Centre for Innovation in Health Management on 1 March.

Called the Fair Chance Approach to Social Value, the method sets out how to:

  • measure an body's impact on social outcomes beyond its official remit
  • agree with communities where more impact is needed
  • achieve that impact.

This is a new way of looking at successful programmes. Although developed by health experts, it is applicable to any public service, charity or social enterprise. It gives every organisation an opportunity to understand and reproduce the work of the best, which all too often remains a mystery or is put down to charismatic leadership.

Social value is created from the very first step in the process, in which stakeholders, including those who find it hard to speak up, gather to agree shared objectives. The approach is dynamic rather than linear - instead of working through a series of actions, all steps are in play at the same time.

Subjectivity is acknowledged - the role of interpretation in judging value and making decisions is made explicit.

The launch takes place on 1 March at 4-6pm in the Charles Thackrah Building at the University of Leeds.

The Fair Chance handbook explains: "Imagine two identical health programmes serving deprived areas. Both are hitting their outcome targets, but one is doing a whole lot more. Somehow, its service users are not just in better health, they are also happier and more confident. A small but significant number who were unemployed have found jobs, in some cases taking whole families off benefits. These families are eating better and taking more exercise. Their children's attendance at school is better and their results are improving.

"How does that unit do what it is doing? It can point to organisational beliefs about rights and responsibilities, excellent links with other services and the quality of its relationship with service users - but how did it develop these? And how does the other programme catch up?"

CIHM director Becky Malby says: “We are in an era of austerity and for some time there has been growing interest in how you measure social value.

Graham Allen MP has been talking about investment vehicles based on the money saved from early years intervention. The Marmot review called for health services to do a lot more than just treat health, and reforms to public health reflect its conclusions.

"Public sector budgets are tight, there is a lot of change going on - in the NHS in particular - and social value is about what sort of things you should be spending on in a less than ideal situation like this.

"Our tools for measuring social value are particularly important. The power over where to invest is skewed towards funders, but we recognise everyone has a view - funders, communities and providers - and they are all important. Our metrics provide a way to capture those views."

Fair Chance sets out four steps:

  • Determining social value impact - conversations with and between all the
    stakeholders, including those who find it hard to speak up. These conversations explore agreement and disagreement, and generate a shared understanding of the intended social value of an organisation's activity
  • Measuring impact value - using new and existing metrics to analyse what
    an organisation or project is achieving
  • Measuring adaptive value - assessing the fitness of the organisational
    culture to make the most of the resources it has
  • Making sense of the evidence - making decisions, based on stakeholder
    conversations, about where to invest.

For more information on Fair Chance, to let us know you will attend the launch, or to interview CIHM staff contact:

Juliet Brown
0113 3433482; 07903 049 342

Varya Shaw
07747 896 613; 0208 800 6915

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