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SROI for public services across the Black Country

Updated: Apr 2, 2019

Catherine Sweetman M.A.
SROI project management service

Why do public services need external evaluation? I guess the short answer is, alongside gathering information about who uses your service (e.g. name, age, address) you need to understand the difference accessing your service makes to the quality of people’s lives. And ensure individuals are invested in the public service you deliver. Ensure also that the said beneficiaries of your service delivery are not passive participants who have no control over if the service is delivered or not. But instead, they are valued and respected ‘stakeholders’, acknowledged and appreciated for their input.

Since the introduction of the Social Value Act (2013); gathering and managing forecast information when seeking to provide a public service. And evaluating the impact your service has on the wider community, have been requisites even public services delivered by local authorities have experienced as a difficult ask.

We all know the way public services are delivered is in flux of change. The model of central government funding our public resources directly through local government via public taxes is being adjusted to include (among other things) private companies interested in creating social change, seeking to invest finance according to societal needs.

Social Impact Bonds Model
Outcomes based funding

As any not-for-profit organisation knows, accessing (and keeping) funding to enable operation isn’t for the faint of heart. I know from my involvement with an education and respite centre for people with cerebral palsy as secretary to the Board. It takes determination and stamina to deliver a service when there is no bottom line on a spreadsheet showing profit margins enabling re-investment to grow capacity.

From writing policy briefings and research leading up to my service inception; the most helpful resource for public services to support the process and promote understanding amongst delivering professionals is Big Society Capital. CEO Cliff Priors presentation given to Impact Investing World Forum (available for viewing from the link) gives full credence to the situation.

During his presentation, Cliff promotes understanding of the changing circumstance for-profit organisations are being encouraged to invest a percentage of their profit margin to fund social interventions. But for the said to occur, changes to how the ‘Impact and Outcomes’ of service delivery are demonstrated must be made by the organisations that deliver.

Big Society Capital provides an Outcomes Matrix Guide, and PDF documents regarding every UK public service delivery and desirable 'outcome areas' which are directly related to public policy. For example, if your organisation meets the needs of adult education there is an ‘Outcomes Matrix’ guide which tells you exactly the social, environmental and economic outcomes your service delivery seeks to meet.

My service Social Impact Research has the expertise and software that enables you to develop your service impact map; i.e. what it costs to deliver, who your stakeholders are including partner organisations, volunteers, administrators and beneficiaries. Further, to then gather and manage the data which recognises your service Social Return of Investment (SROI), alongside its Social,Environmental and Economic Impact while operating. It is the Government endorsed method of choice sited in the Social Value Act Review (2015) and all current literature about Social Impact Bonds. Social Impact Research service delivery also meets with the Big Lottery Fund Guide to Evaluation.

Commissioning an impact evaluation study into your operation demonstrates to funding sources the results of your activity and the public value your organisation creates. For smaller not-for-profits public services, the gathered information is invaluable for the purposes of scaling up your activity and procuring to deliver a new service to a larger population. Alternatively, to develop and manage a significant social intervention project.

Doing an SROI study is the method of choice for gathering accurate information that a prospective funding source (e.g. business, trust fund or government agency) can easily acknowledge and justify financial outlay on an ongoing basis. I would venture from my training and research that the acquired and managed information allows for a sustainable funding source for as long as the profit-margin of the investing business allows for it.

Providing funding for the said purposes would always have a condition attached to it.

Presently one of those conditions is to demonstrate the Social, Environmental and Economic Impact your service is having on the lives of the individual user, and wider community of partner organisations that your operation impacts upon.

My service delivery represents a solution to the problem of how not-for-profits delivering services across the Black Country access affordable research and information management services. Information they need when procuring to deliver a service, and when gathering information that makes a difference to their sustainability.

Because this is a new service; Social Impact Research needs One organisation for a pilot study which will be done at half the usual cost of external evaluation of a small public service. The evaluation is delivered over a period of 8 to 10 weeks, so the cost to you is set at £2,500. For a project managed and delivered over a period of 10 weeks work, involving one-to-one collaborative practice inputting project information into specialist SROI software to gather and manage information that demonstrates the social, environmental and economic impact of your service. Done with a view to gathering and managing information that meets with outcomes based funding requirement, it is an offer you shouldn’t miss out on.

Service Area Criteria suited to an Evaluation Study:

· Your service is accessed by up to 1000 people

· Your organisation has delivered a public service for at least 12 months

· You seek to scale up, or precure to deliver a new social intervention

· Your service impacts upon; Mental Health and Wellbeing. Arts Heritage Sport and Faith

· Employment, Training and Education. Family, Friends and Relationships. Housing and Local Facilities. Physical Health. Citizenship and Community Involvement.

· And suggests a public service delivery for people experiencing; long term unemployment, homelessness, poverty and financial exclusion, addiction issues and recovery, long term health conditions, learning disabilities, mental health needs, physical disabilities or sensory impairments, voluntary carers, vulnerable parents, young people, older people, ex/offenders, people who have experienced crime or abuse.

Anyone in need of evaluating their service delivery and demonstrating its social, environmental and economic impact should contact Catherine Sweetman 01902 218329 or email You will be provided with more information about what an SROI analyses is and how one is done. There will also be an optional half hour video consult via The project needs to start within the next 3 weeks and will be completed by the end of June 2019.

So if you know your organisation needs to gather impact information and will benefit from an SROI analysis to meet with funding requisites and marketing presentation, the sooner you get in touch, the sooner we can get started.

Please also be aware that the software can be used with financial analysis (e.g. for every £1 of funding, your project creates £X social value) or without financial analysis. The latter function focuses purely upon gathering information about your organisations Social and Environmental Impact to demonstrate its public value.

If you have been operating your service for at least 12 months without completing an external evaluation. Or need to gather forecast information at procurement stage for delivering a social intervention, I can assure you doing this study will be invaluable to you. My understanding is there is funding available specifically for commissioning a research project. So get in touch. "Be part of the solution and know your impact”, I look forward to speaking with you.


Director of Social Impact Research

Date: April 2019

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