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15-17 OCT
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Social Value in Action.
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Amanda Scott

Compass Group on making Social Value really matter and moving beyond a 'tick box exercise'

Compass Group UK & Ireland truly understands the importance of making Social Value matter. Amanda Scott, Director of Talent, Learning and D&I, discusses why Social Value has to be more than just bureaucracy, and why facilitating social mobility benefits everyone.


When companies make bold pledges or commitments, there is often cynicism as to whether they deliver tangible results. In recent months, “greenwashing” has been front and centre the net zero debate.

So how do you make sure that Social Value is more than just a tick box exercise and really makes a difference?

Social Value at Compass Group UK & Ireland

For us, Social Value is simple – it’s about the contribution we make to the local communities in which we work. This covers a range of initiatives, including:

  • Employment - providing not only jobs but career opportunities, training and progression
  • Supporting local community initiatives through charity partnerships and fundraising
  • Using our scale to help smaller businesses through our supply chain
  • Working to improve health and wellbeing
  • Delivering environmentally sustainable services that are aligned with achieving net zero by 2030

As a large employer of over 45,000 employees that operates at over 6000 sites across the country, we know our footprint alone puts us in a unique position to make a difference to people’s lives, whether it's those we employ, or the communities our teams are working in.

We were staggered to learn that, due to the large numbers of our people working close to where they live, Social Value Portal measured our Social Value at over £590 million in Social Value through employment alone.

A significant number – but what does it really mean?

Creating positive impact for people and communities

We recently launched “our Social Promise”, which aims to address barriers and inequalities for under-represented groups and positively impact 1 million lives by 2030. We are actively working to identify and remove barriers people may face to progression – be they the circumstances in which they grew up, lack of formal educational qualifications, or life challenges such as homelessness.

We know that access to training and development is key to improving employment and earning potential. With over 600 colleagues studying for an apprenticeship this year, over 1000 colleagues working on our internal development programme (Compass Career Pathways), and several thousand colleagues securing promotions this year, we are well on the way to delivering our goal.

One of the most rewarding parts of our Social Value activity has been providing employment opportunities for those who traditionally struggle to secure jobs. Through partnerships with a number of organisations, including Springboard, West Lea, Care Leavers Covenant, and Ambitious about Autism, we have been able to support people who require additional support to get them into employment.

Moving forward with Social Value

Through Our Social Promise, we have published a clear roadmap with specific milestones to drive transparency and accountability. Underpinning our Promise is the goal to be representative of the population from a gender, ethnicity, and socio-economic perspective, not only at our frontline but at every level of management – where we have more to do. To tackle social mobility head-on, we need to know more about our workforce; we have issued a socio-economic survey to provide a baseline to work from.

We are fully committed to making a difference to people’s lives – it’s good for individuals, communities and the economy as a whole. There is no blueprint to follow, and we know that we will meet challenges on the way. But we believe by reporting and sharing our experiences, we can provide useful insights to many other organisations. Together, we can work to deliver more Social Value, supporting a fairer and more equal society.

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About Social Value Portal

Since 2017 Social Value Portal has been at the forefront of the Social Value movement. As creators of the endorsed Social Value TOM SystemTM, hosts of the annual Social Value Conference and founding members of the independent National Social Value Taskforce – they set industry standards and lead the business agenda.

Their unique mix of consultancy, cloud platform and programmes offer organisations the complete solution to accurately measure, manage and report Social Value – and create lasting impact.

In 2022, SVP achieved B Corp status, scoring above average in all assessed. The company’s aim is to promote better business and community wellbeing through the integration of Social Value into day-to-day business activity across all sectors.

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