LJMU calculates social return on investment

10 October 2011

LJMU has undertaken its first commercial contract to help a client organisation calculate the social return on its work.

'Access Enterprise' is a Merseyside based mental health and enterprise project which is a joint collaboration between Merseyside Expanding Horizons (MEH) and Network Employment (part of Merseycare NHS Trust).

The project, which was funded by The Big Lottery and ran from August 2008 until August 2011, supported people who have had experience of mental ill health to explore entrepreneurship and self employment.

Social Return on Investment (SROI) is a framework for assessing the social, economic and environmental impact of a given project, programme or organisation through the perspective of the key stakeholders. Any SROI analysis requires a combination of qualitative, quantitative and financial information and results in a figure that reflects the amount of ‘value’ created or destroyed by a project. This is generally represented as 'for every £1 invested in the project £x of social, environmental and economic value is created'.

The SROI analysis for the Access Enterprise project was done on an evaluative basis and looked at the social value created over the 3 year life cycle of the project.

The stakeholder engagement was undertaken in The AutomaticTM, LJMU’s creative facilitation environment, using LJMU’s unique SROI Stakeholder Engagement Toolkit. This is designed to be flexible and accessible to a variety of stakeholders, moving away from more traditional methods of stakeholder engagement such as questionnaires and interviews. The toolkit involves a combination of individual landscaping, group work, discussion, writing and drawing.

Stakeholders involved in the process included beneficiaries, family members of beneficiaries, volunteer mentors and project staff from MEH and Network Employment. The methodology for capturing the data involved individuals mapping out their personal journey through the project, group feedback to establish consensus of the key changes that had taken place because of the project and group tasks to agree the value of these key changes.

The results of the SROI analysis indicated that for every £1 invested in the project, approximately £5 in social value was created.

Joe Hemington of MEH said: "The SROI assessment day was a unique experience that enabled the stakeholders of the Access Enterprise programme to look at the journey they had been on and place a value on the changes that they had been through. This was invaluable and we will be able to use this information in our marketing strategy to funders and other key stakeholders."

Lucy Day, LJMU’s SROI Co-ordinator, said: "SROI is essentially a story of change which is summarised in a figure representing 'value' created. Being able to quantify the value of the changes that a project has brought about can be hugely beneficial in planning future projects, in engaging support and, most crucially, in securing funding. Our first commercial SROI project has been very successful and we look forward to working with a range of organisations from the private, public and social sectors over the coming months."

For further information  contact Lucy Day by email l.j.day@ljmu.ac.uk or call 0151 231 8091

Page last modified by Corporate Communications on 10 October 2011.
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