Together with our partners Pagabo and Sypro we have been recognised for our attitudes to flexible working that set us as front runners in the construction industry, which will be further facilitated by our move to new premises to accompany a new way of working post-pandemic. 

Like many other businesses, both in Hull and across the country, the major change has been balancing working from home with working from the company office. This has led to discussions on what facilities are needed to be added or adapted, and which are no longer required for a modern way of working, all of which has been incorporated in the designs for our new offices in central Hull. 

The former HSBC building on Whitefriargate is set to be home to us, and create a thriving home for creative, digital and tech businesses. The refurbished building will feature individual and shared workspaces, excellent broadband connectivity, meeting room facilities suitable for video conferencing and podcast sound booths. 

Gerard Toplass, our executive chairman of the three companies, said: “The pandemic has been a humbling period for all of us, but one of the reminders it has given us is that our employees will always be our greatest asset and we respect that everyone’s preferences are unique. We must continue to facilitate flexible working conditions that will allow individuals to lead fulfilling professional and personal lives – something we urge other businesses to remember are not mutually exclusive.

“We have to also ensure that we are adapting to meet the expectations around flexible working. We know that it is more important to most employees than ever before – and especially so for younger team members. These people are ultimately the future of our workforce, so it is crucial that we meet their expectations to keep the talent we need, where we need it.

“Flexible working is not just about working from home, which is why we have invested in new offices in the heart of Hull. Our new home has a mix of high-tech workspaces and relaxed social spaces so that we can interact in the appropriate environment when we are choosing to not work from home. We believe that it is particularly fitting that one of Hull’s oldest streets is now leading the way in the future of working and putting the great people of this city first.”

The successful commitment to flexible working has attracted national attention, with our team welcoming Labour’s Deputy Leader and Shadow Secretary of State for the Future of Work, Angela Rayner, visiting the soon-to-open new office space. She spoke with our staff from Social Profit Calculator, Pagabo and Sypro on the key learnings and takeaways from how they have been working throughout the pandemic and in the days since social distancing restrictions were lifted.

The visit formed part of the Labour Party’s unveiling of plans to make flexible working a force for good and fundamentally change working practices for the better through the right to flexible working, which includes flexible hours, compressed hours, staggered hours and flexibility around childcare and caring responsibilities.

Emma Hardy MP, who represents Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle, said: “Labour’s new flexible working plans are a breath of fresh air and ones which will improve people’s work life balance.

“I have been speaking in Parliament for some time now about the potential we have here in Hull and East Riding and how remote working means people can work from home and online without having to leave the area. The possibility of someone working in Hull for companies across the UK has never been better.

“No longer will we need to be leaving family, friends, and the area to pursue better careers, and with greater affordability than in other cities such as London means a far better quality of life can be had here in Hull and the surrounding area.

“These plans will also enhance gender equality by allowing parents to work at home without losing out by not being in the workplace. This, alongside calls for flexible hours to work around school runs and other family responsibilities, will bring much-needed improvements to people’s work-life balance.”

“Understanding local needs is the key to good development and it needs to be forefront of mind when thinking about delivering social value. Although ticking as many boxes as possible may seem like the solution, understanding what you are trying to deliver and then building your plan will enable the most suitable benefits for the specific project and people involved.”

Dr Victoria Johnson, Principal Consultant, Social Profit Calculator

Last week we attended the Simplifying Social Value Conference organised by Built Environment Networking and were part of a high-quality panel to debate the realities and myths that exist around social value.

The panel was chaired by our executive chairman, Gerard Toplass, who was joined by non-executive chairman Lord Bob Kerslake, and principal consultant Victoria Johnson. 

Our contingent was joined by Andrew Craig, partner at Maven Capital Partners, and Martin Summers, associate director at GK Strategy, to bring different perspectives and views to the discussion on social value.   

The cause of confusion 

Gerard kicked off the debate by asking the panel whether there is a mystique around social value and what the industry should do to demystify. Victoria was first to respond, identifying that the way that we often define social value is part of the confusion and this a result of no standardised approach being adopted yet. 

The panel stepped in to agree with Victoria, explaining that calculating both social value and environmental, social and governance (ESG) is a means to an end. Although calculations make things easier to explain afterwards, the true measure of these concepts is what change people are seeing in their lives and when considered from this point of view, social value is a fairly simple concept based on capturing the full benefits of what you’re doing, and not just economic benefits. 

Lord Kerslake, with his many years of experience and highly respected opinions, commented that sometimes the desire to create a methodology that works is actually an obstacle to making the public understand the aims. He said: “The public need to see tangibles, but it needs to be measurable too, so there needs to be different approaches for different audiences.”

ESG – an old new idea? 

Gerard opened up the next topic by suggesting that younger people’s attitudes towards the world may now be more in line with social value. Lord Kerslake appeared to agree by stating his belief that ESG is now the leading industry issue for organisations. He believes that in the past it may have been one of many issues companies were facing, but over the last two to three years it is now at the forefront of everything we do. 

Andrew echoed this notion, stating that ESG was once only a key matter for big companies, but it has now transitioned to a core consideration for SMEs alike. His suggestion for evidencing this commitment is through case studies. He said: “By doing this you can illustrate the tangible impact, it helps extrapolate the information, brings it to life and shows how it benefits all stakeholders.”

Simplifying evidence of social value

People have been benefitting from the construction industry forever, but how we understand those benefits continues to change and develop. Our Social Profit Calculator software offers a more scientific way to understand social value, but Gerard was keen to find out more ways we can intelligently look at the positive impacts. 

Martin offered an alternative, saying that there is too much of a focus on KPIs and not on roadmaps. He said: “The industry needs to remain focussed on one key question, ‘what has been able to happen on a social value front that wouldn’t have happened without your intervention?’ By doing this, we avoid the impact of the innovation within social value being lost under a weight of process and calculations.”

Delivering optimum social value 

Although an obvious question for a highly skilled panel, Gerard asked what advice his guests should be giving to people assessing portfolios regarding social value and ESG. Victoria highlighted the importance of early stakeholder engagement in order to best understand what they want to achieve. She said: “Understanding local needs is the key to good development and it needs to be forefront of mind when thinking about delivering social value. Although ticking as many boxes as possible may seem like the solution, understanding what you are trying to deliver and then building your plan will enable the most suitable benefits for the specific project and people involved.”

Lord Kerslake believes that following Social Value UK’s seven principles is a staple of excellent social value. Delivering social value is unique in all cases, so in its nature, it is distinctive to what you are assessing. He said: “What we are trying to achieve is some level of consistency, but we need to be flexible at the same time. The best way to find this balance is through doing it – my experience is that people are most successfully delivering social value after learning on the job.”

Is it a level playing field? 

SMEs in construction are receiving a lot of focus in relation to social value, stated Gerard. So, he asked, are they at a disadvantage at the procurement stage because they struggle to illustrate how much SV they deliver? 

Lord Kerslake, first to intervene, said that because of the nature of the construction industry in the UK – made up of a large number of SMEs – they are naturally at a disadvantage because they don’t have the capacity to work on the new agenda in a way that will help them compete. The ability to help them through that, either via Social Profit Calculator or frameworks, means that there is no need to reinvent the wheel because there is a standardised approach available to them already. 

Victoria added to Lord Kerslake’s view, stating that knowing SMEs have lower levels of resources means we need to make sure they are not getting left behind in the conversation. She said: “SMEs already add so much in terms of productivity and local employment, so making social value an onerous task for them would be unfair. The challenge is making sure that the public sector is upskilled in understanding that SMEs can deliver social value, and also focussing on local enterprises and building resilience.”

Is social value transforming procurement?

To conclude the session, a short discussion was had on whether social value has a role to play in changing procurement for the better. Martin highlighted the example of a proposal in the Green Paper: Transforming public procurement to change the basis of contract awards from “most economically advantageous tender” (MEAT) to “most advantageous tender” (MAT) as an example of the wider project benefits moving to a level playing field and the debate being explored elsewhere.

Andrew agrees with this proposal and believes that we can’t always go with price over quality. He said: “Local government needs to catch up by considering all tenders and rewarding quality. Social housing, for example, being driven by a ‘lowest price wins’ system is a recipe for disaster which can be avoided.”

We are confident that as the construction industry continues to build on its social value responsibility and commitment, we will see ourselves entering a transformational era of procurement in which companies that succeed will be those that put the needs of all at the heart of what they do.

Social Value Consultant 

Department: Consultancy Services
Location: Hull/remote
Full-time permanent contract: 37.5 hours per week
Reports to: Principal Consultant

Salary: £25,000 – £32,000 dependent on experience, plus additional benefits

Deadline for Applications: until filled

About Social Profit Calculator

Social Profit Calculator (SPC) was founded in response to the Public Services (Social Value) Act, 2012. The Act requires people who commission public services to think about how they can also secure wider social, economic and environmental benefits. We built the Social Profit Calculator in response to the Social Value Act. Clients can use it to calculate the value of what they do simply and effectively using a Social Value UK & Social Value International accredited platform.

The SPC team has twenty years experience of in delivering, creating and measuring Social Value. We use our practical knowledge, experience and expertise to provide clients across all sectors with innovative, forward-thinking and deliverable social value policies and strategies. 

We work with businesses of all sizes to offer a comprehensive range of tender services: including procurement, social value offers, HM Treasury Business Case appraisal support and bid writing. We have a diverse client base from a range of sectors including construction, retail, finance, professional services, public sector and third sector organisations.

Social Value is a growth area, and we are a growing business. This means building a dynamic, inspiring culture where we celebrate diversity, bold thinking. We are curious, creative and open to new ideas and ways of working, and it takes the skills of a collaborative team to really deliver on what we can do. 

Purpose of Job

Our Consultancy team is growing, and we are looking for a Social Value Consultant to support the consultancy team to continue to deliver exceptional work.

This is an exciting opportunity for an experienced Social Value Consultant who has a keen interest in social valuation and sustainability. Supporting and leading the delivery of consultancy projects will be a key part of this role. You’ll use your strong quantitative, analytical and communication skills to deliver a range of consultancy services including tender support, policies and strategies, and forecast/evaluative calculations. 

Alongside supporting consultancy projects, you will work cross-enterprise and liaise with different teams to support business development including proposal writing, development of social, economic and environmental evaluations for SPC and facilitating stakeholder workshops. 

Join us and become part of an exciting place to work.

Main Responsibilities / Accountabilities 

  • Support delivery of consultancy projects for a range of clients, including public sector, third sector, commercial, industry and finance.
  • Lead high level social, environmental and economic impact calculations for a range of clients. This includes collating and preparing client data, assuring data quality, using SPC’s Social Profit Calculator platform, and conducting Excel-based calculations.
  • Lead development of credible Social Value reports.
  • Attend client meetings and liaise with clients at all levels, including supporting stakeholder engagement workshops.
  • Support the delivery of Social Value policies and strategies for clients.
  • Help build submissions regarding Social Value tenders. 
  • Help produce proposals for prospective clients.
  • Research and develop social, environmental and economic valuations for SPC.
  • Work with the development and design team to realise projects which intersect with consultancy projects.
  • Assist the development team where necessary.

Other

  • The post holder may be required to carry out other duties that are reasonable to be considered as within the scope and purpose of the job and aptitudes of the job holder.
  • This job description reflects the current requirements of the post. As duties and responsibilities change and develop due to changes in organisational and other circumstances, so the actual duties and responsibilities will vary from the particulars of this job description.

Special working conditions

  • Occasional travel within the UK will be required.
  • Normal office hours are 8.30-5.30 pm Monday-Friday with a 1-hour break for lunch.

Person Specification 

Knowledge

  • A strong interest in sustainability and making a difference for people and the environment.
  • Good understanding of UK Social Value policy, the Sustainable Development Goals and responsible business.
  • Knowledge of social evaluation, theories and methodologies, including Cost Benefit Analysis, Social Return on Investment (SROI) and Economic Appraisal.
  • Knowledge of at least one of the following sectors: industry knowledge of construction/ infrastructure, professional services, public sector procurement, asset management. 
  • In-depth knowledge of at least one of the following areas: sustainability, corporate social responsibility (ESG), socially responsible investment, environmental impact assessment, environmental economics.

Experience  

  • Client relationship experience.
  • At least 2-3 years’ experience of delivering consultancy projects and evidence of successful feedback from clients. 
  • Research, data analysis and evaluation experience.
  • Report and proposal writing. 
  • Communicating concepts and methodologies. 
  • Experience giving presentations. 

Skills

  • Excellent organisational, planning, prioritising and time management skills.
  • Ability to manage several projects at once. 
  • Ability to problem solve and deliver to tight deadlines. 
  • Strong presentation skills.
  • Strong relationship building and communication skills and be able to operate credibly at all levels.
  • Analytical skills and ability to synthesise information and present it clearly in succinct reports and presentations. 
  • High level of accuracy and eye for detail. 
  • Excellent writing skills. 
  • Ability to work as part of a dynamic team as well as autonomously. 
  • Excellent IT and Microsoft Office Package skills. 

Behaviours

  • Recognise the implications of working with a range of clients including third sector, public sector, commercial, industry and finance.
  • Drive, enthusiasm and an optimistic approach.
  • Demonstrate flexibility and open-mindedness.
  • Entrepreneurial.
  • Self-motivated.

Nice-to-haves

  • Experience in facilitating stakeholder workshops.
  • Experience in working with technical teams and helping to shape products for consultancy customers.
  • Experience in using SQL and/or Python or similar.

Application Process

Please submit a full CV and covering letter outlining your suitability for the role. 

Please email your application to victoria@socialprofitcalculator.co.uk

If you would like to discuss the role in more detail, please contact the SPC office on 01482 255112


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