The methodology behind the Impact Evaluation Standard

What is the Impact Evaluation Standard (IES)?

The Impact Evaluation Standard is a standard set of rules which enables organisations to bring consistency and additional rigour to their reporting of social value for individual projects or their entire organisation, encompassing local economic benefit, sustainability and community benefit aspects.

The framework can assist organisations in the completion of an indicative Social Return on Investment alongside a forecast Socioeconomic Cost-Benefit Analysis by:

  • Providing a comprehensive and standardised list of metrics as a guide to typical social value outputs and outcomes
  • Acting as a prompt to help steer what resources (inputs) and activities might be required to achieve those outputs and outcomes
  • Where possible or relevant, providing financial proxy values for either the economic benefit of those outcomes or the forecast social value of those outcomes.    

An overview of the metrics and proxy values included in the Impact Evaluation Standard is provided below. 

Impact Evaluation Standard User Guidance 2024

Themes and Metrics

The 2024 version of the Impact Evaluation Standard consists of a series of over 130 metrics – measures of the social value outcomes intended e.g. the number of employment opportunities created, or reduction in CO2 emissions.  

These metrics are all aligned to the UK government’s Social Value Model guidance for PPN06/20 and each fall within one of 5 broad themes:

  • Tackling Economic Inequality

A comprehensive range of metrics addressing 2 Policy Outcomes in the Social Value Model focusing on the creation of new business, new jobs and new skills as well as increasing supply chain resilience and capacity.

  • Fighting Climate Change

The metrics in this theme will help you quantify your reduction in consumption (CO2 emissions, water and waste), your creation of green spaces and the time spent by your workforce on environmental initiatives.

  • Equal Opportunity
This theme provides the opportunity to record and show how you diversify your workforce, create equal opportunity and reduce inequality – both through your own organisation and your supply chain.
  • Wellbeing

This theme addresses the Policy Outcomes to improve health and wellbeing – that of your workforce and supply chain – and community integration – looking at your external investments of cash, volunteering and education.

  • Covid-19 Recovery (Retired)

The Impact Evaluation Standard makes it easy to report metrics relating to the Social Value Model Theme of COVID-19 recovery. There are 3 key areas of focus: Employment, Training and Workplace/Supply Chain adaptation.

The metrics directly correlate to the 52 Reporting Metrics stipulated in the Social Value Model, but also extend these to give additional depth by adding other aspects noted in the Social Value Model documentation and/or other commonly used metrics in social value reporting.

Proxy Values

Many metrics have been given proxy values – indicative financial values of social impact or economic benefit that provide an additional way to quantify social value and evidence the impact to society.  

Many social value calculators include proxy values – there is no single definitive source of these values. The proxy values in the Impact Evaluation Standard are UK-specific and have been derived by the Impact Evaluation Standard steering committee and working groups in line with HM Treasury Green Book Guidance and are drawn from different sources and studies.

For instance:

  • Primary sources, are the most preferrable and are government research and studies – such as data from the ONS or the Manchester Unit Cost Database.
  • Secondary sources are university or thinktank studies
  • Tertiary sources, used where no studies exist, are created via independent research undertaken by the standard or external consultants.

Evolution & Contribution

The Impact Evaluation Standard is updated at least on an annual basis, with each edition taking account of relevant emerging industry best practice. Each annual release is supported by guidance documentation on its application.

Contribution to the Impact Evaluation Standard from experienced social value practitioners from a range of backgrounds including industry, consultancy, academia and public sector is welcomed to ensure a well rounded and rigorous approach. Contact us to discuss joining one of our working groups to contribute to the evolution of the framework. 

Aligned with UK government guidance PPN 06/20 and the Social Value Model

This Procurement Policy Note (PPN) launches a new model to deliver social value through government’s commercial activities. Central government organisations should use this model to take account of the additional social benefits that can be achieved in the delivery of its contracts, using policy outcomes aligned with this Government’s priorities.

Social value should be explicitly evaluated in all central government procurement, where the requirements are related and proportionate to the subject-matter of the contract, rather than just ‘considered’ as currently required under the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012. Unnecessary burdens should not be placed on commercial teams or suppliers.


Widely recognised and adopted: covering the needs of both public and private sector

The Impact Evaluation Standard is used to measure and report on social value by wide range of organisations, including public sector bodies such as NHS Property Services and large private sector suppliers such as Kier construction.

The framework is used to report into over 32 contracting authorities and government departments.

If you’d like to know more, please contact us.

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