After making a presentation to BME London (BME London Registered Social Landlords umbrella body), about adopting leadership in social innovation by defining social value, social impact measurement and collective impact concepts as integral to their organisations mission; It’s now important for us to delve deeper into social innovation, social value and social impact measurement and how it creates a great opportunity for BME community facing organisations to make themselves distinct in terms of the value they can bring to their primary beneficiaries and to society in general.

The concepts of social value and social impact represent the shift from the deontological theory of ethics to consequentialist ethics where the worth of an action is not judged by the action itself but the focus becomes the focus on the consequences of action itself.

Following the introduction of the Value for Money Standard introduced by the regulator of social housing, where registered social landlords are obliged to publicily report their organisations performance against seven financial metrics. With the movement towards making the case for the social value that corporate organisations provide society it is soon becoming an imperative for non-profits to justify the social good, value or impact the provide. Where social housing organisations seek to or claim to provide community investment programmes that aims to support tenants and other qualifying stakeholders into employment, mental health and health and wellbeing programmes, the impact measurement systems and methodology are accessible, and need to be embraced

I believe this paradigm shift provides a great opportunity for BME housing organisations to demonstrate their value historically, in the present and looking towards the future the intrinsic value they have the potential to provide moving forward. BME London Landlords collaborative initiative is only one example of how BME Housing Organisations are well placed to be significant drivers of change for the better in UK society.

Social impact measurement simply relates to the practice of demonstrating the financial value of non market values that organisations provide to their beneficiaries. HACT’s (Housing Associations Charitable Trust) Social Value Bank (social housing’s industry social impact managment standard) has been around for about 8 years complete with a measurement methodology and formula for Wellbeing Valuation which provides financial values for non market value outcomes backed the HM Treasury.

Whilst I believe this is an opportunity for all social landlords, with BME social landlords in particular, my intuition suspects there is an argument for additional weighting to be added to some of the financial valuations on the social impact outcomes provided by the community investment programmes that BME housing organisations have been delivering over the years and still continue to deliver to this very day. My reasons for this thinking are the racial disparities that have to be taken into consideration in terms of difficulty of accessing higher value permanent employment outcomes, and the inequalities in achieving positive mental health, health and wellbeing outcomes. Even with HACT’s social value bank (considered by government a robust social impact measurement methodology) BME housing organisations are able to demonstrate financial values for many areas of their business model surrounding the interventions they have in relation to housing, life satisfaction and wellbeing or conversely highlight the potential cost to society if disparities in these areas are not being addressed strategically.

When it comes to utilising HACT’s social value bank formula, those in the BME Housing sector may come to a conclusion that is there an argument for further research which seeks to ascertain whether an additional financial weighting to the work BME housing associations who have provided to specific migrant and BME communities for over 30 years. Many have argued that had there not been investment to the BME Housing Sector the resultant progress in addressing inequality in BME communities accessing social housing would not be where it is today.

Could further study create its own formula for the impact that the BME housing sector has had in becoming sustainable community facing social enterprises, that now as viable businesses creates a landscape for default emergent opportunities to build the case for more investment in supporting communities still suffering at the bottom of the ladder of life satisfaction, social determinants of health and social mobility indicators and bringing about a fairer society.

Having been invited to HACT’s social value taskforce, and developed links with Understanding Society’s research team we hope to inform a new research brief that will enable us to quantify, reveal and inform with findings in this new landscape of demonstrating the value of the work our social landlords provide.