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Benefits Summit 2016 - Measuring and reporting non-financial benefits using the social return on investment (SROI) framework, workshop 6 session write up

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Hugo Minney, PhD is a Registered Project Professional (RPP), Chartered Manager, and a Fellow of APM. He speaks on benefits management around UK. His day job is as chief executive of a GP Practice Federation.

Hugo also runs a management consultancy, and a medical charity, and combines the three sectors of the economy through the all-important question “WHY?” Why are we trying to do this project? What are we really trying to achieve? Do the benefits actually justify the investment or could the investment be better spent to achieve more benefits through a different programme?

Hugo is an Accredited Social Return on Investment Practitioner with Social Value UK. He was lead author for the chapter on Benefits Management in the APM Body of Knowledge.

The workshop format

Hugo led a very interactive and practical session on the Social Return on Investment six-stage framework, which has been endorsed by the Cabinet Office. In the course of the session Hugo focused on examples of investment programmes for a high street bakery, so the concepts he introduced were immediately related to practical situations. Each table at the workshop was invited to pick an investment that the bakery might make, ranging from a new CRM system to a fleet of company cars, and follow through the benefits management issues for that scenario throughout the workshop.

Business cases and benefits cases might be built on a few tangible, cash-releasing benefits and a whole lot of assertions. Can anyone put an accurate value on these assertions and so make better investment/ dis-investment decisions?

The workshop addressed this issue, drawing on the experience of workshop participants as they responded to the questions Hugo posed in his presentation.

The workshop started by exploring the ways that stakeholders will value benefits differently, which will influence their view of what success looks like. Attention then focuses on the different types of benefit, with the process of defining key performance indicators often being concerned with finding a way of quantifying benefits. The assumptions behind chains of causality need to be established, feeding into different scenarios for the worst, best and most likely outcomes. Concepts such as deadweight and attribution of benefits help to refine the approach to impact.

The Social Return on Investment six stage framework distils out figures that stakeholders support and that can be challenged and repeated.  It helps with decision-making if circumstances change, and it helps all interested parties to see the same vision and so pull together through the hard times of the project. The workshop gave participants a summary of the framework, and the opportunity to consider the way it might be applied in their own work context.

This presentation is based on the white paper Social Return on Investment (SROI): A Powerful Tool for the Realisation of Benefits published in October 2016 by the APM Benefits Management Specific Interest Group (SIG). Hugo Minney is the lead author, with support from other committee members.
The paper is now available to download here. The presentation can be viewed below:

Measuring and reporting non-financial benefits using the social return on investment (SROI) framework, workshop 6, Hugo Minney, London, 23 June 2016 from Association for Project Management


Also available from the Benefits Summit 2016 conference:

This article was written by Richard Breese, APM Benefits Management SIG committee member.


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