The Award wins the Third Sector Leadership Award at the Social Value Awards 2022

Earlier this year The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation’s Research team were awarded The Third Sector Leadership Award for their ground-breaking research into estimating the Award’s social value. To find out more about the incredible work that the team were so deservedly recognised for, please read on…


Run by Social Value Portal, The Social Value Awards are the awards to win for any organisation concerned with doing more good. They aim to recognise organisations who champion social value creation and community wellbeing. Every day, more and more social value creators make positive impacts in communities across the country.  

Having recently finalised our ground-breaking impact research which estimates that the Award created an astonishing £400 million in social value in 2022, the Foundation made an application to the Third Sector Leadership Award, and were thrilled to receive the Award. This award is for a third sector organisation that leads the way in embedding social value into the way in which they deliver their services and has made a significant impact on the needs of the communities where they operate. 

Receiving our Award 

The National Social Value Conference 2022 took place on 27 April at the prestigious Church House – a historic Grade II listed building in London’s Westminster. It was an inspirational evening on the 27 April attending the Social Value Awards and receiving our Award. There is a growing recognition of the importance of monitoring social value across not only the third sector, but also the private and public sectors, with many organisations sharing their inspiring journeys towards creating real change for their beneficiaries, clients and for society at large. World-renowned poet, Lemn Sissay acted as guest host of the evening and shared some of his own extraordinary stories and words in an inspiration opening speech. A list of all Award winners can be found on the Social Value Portal website here 

The Award: Building a Culture of Social Value

Since 2017, The Foundation have been working with the Sustainability and Climate Change team at PricewaterhouseCoopers UK (PwC) to understand, and ultimately measure, the societal level impact of the Award. This paper introduces our approach to measuring social value, as our organisation begins to uncover the true extent of the impact of the Award on young people and their communities around the world and embarks on a journey to embed social value into our culture and processes. Our Theory of Change, below, summarises how the Award creates impact. 

 The Foundation makes this research available to the Award’s National Operators around the world. So far, 13 operators have undergone a social value and SROI analysis and have begun embedding social value into their operations in several ways; reporting on impact within annual reports, grant proposals and communications about the Award in their country, and using the learnings from the research in discussions with local politicians and government officials. After conducting country-level analyses with a number of Award Operators, we then employ a benefits-transfer method that allows the application of survey results to similar countries, in order to make an estimate of our global social value.  

Alongside the social value research, The Foundation runs annual satisfaction surveys with Award participants, adults who support Award delivery, and Award operators around the world. These surveys provide insights into the challenges our stakeholders face and the ways The Foundation can improve its services, they highlight the positive benefits of being involved in the Award, and also provide insights into how the experiences of Award participants vary around the world. These ongoing research processes help The Foundation not only understand the challenges and barriers to Award growth and participation, but are essential to understanding our beneficiaries and increasing the social value of the Award. 

Social Value Beneficiaries and Quantification 

Globally, the Award has had an impact on millions of young people since its inception in 1956. Over the years, the positive impacts of the Award on young people, adult mentors, and wider society have been shown through anecdotal evidence such as stories and testimonials from Award participants and adults who support Award delivery1. Through our social value research, we have now collated quantitative evidence which demonstrates the impacts of the Award, including primary data collected in surveys of Award participants from around the world, and secondary research which validates the impacts of the Award’s activities.  

The Foundation’s current research methodology looks at the impact of the Award on young people, adult mentors, and wider society. Young people experience social value through their participation in each Award section; these activities have been shown to increase regular skills practice, regular physical activity, and regular volunteering as well as increase confidence, agency, social inclusion, and provide relief from depression / anxiety. There are also physical health benefits to participating in the Adventurous Journey (AJ) and activity-based Gold Residential Projects. 

Adult mentors experience value through volunteering, increased physical activity from joining participants on their AJs, and learning new skills by completing Award training which sometimes translates to increased earnings. Society benefits through the hours young people spend volunteering for local charitable and community causes during their Voluntary Service section and Gold Residential Projects. 

Our current methodology tracks the following measurable impacts of the Award, noted by beneficiary. In the future, we plan to expand the methodology to include more impact areas, including improved environmental impact and reduced reoffending rates. 

Impact  Young People  Adult Mentors  Wider Society 
Support for charitable and community causes       
Improved mental health and emotional wellbeing       
Improved physical health and fitness       
Improved employability and earning potential       
Increased social cohesion       


Social Value Transparency 

The Foundation’s ongoing partnership with PwC has been instrumental in our social value journey. The model we use for measuring social value follows PwC’s Total Impact Measurement and Management Framework. Our approach aligns with the principles of SROI through accounting for attribution, deadweight, displacement, and drop-off. 

Our surveys are designed to strengthen the understanding of the outcomes experienced by beneficiaries and to establish deadweight, attribution, and drop-off rates. Operational statistics collated by The Foundation and National Operators are also used. This includes the number of young people who complete Bronze, Silver or Gold Awards, and the number of adults who volunteer locally to deliver the Award. Where the Foundation, Operators, or the surveys are unable to provide sufficient data, relevant proxy data is identified from the literature. Desk-based research is also conducted to identify values to drive estimations to express impacts in monetary terms. For example, some of our impact pathways use values from the UK Social Value Bank2 

Research Results 

Our global social value estimation is the product of results from the ten countries3 where Award Operators ran surveys in 2020 and 2021 with their Award participants (n=2,500), adults who support Award delivery (n=1,115), and Award alumni (n=1,059). PwC developed a benefits-transfer method for The Foundation that has allowed the application of these survey results to similar countries. Combined with country/territory-level economic and social data, as well as the Award’s operational statistics for 2020 for all the countries/territories that the Award operates in, this has resulted in an estimated £400 million in present social value generated due to the Award globally, through the 129,119 Awards completed by young people in 2020. Below, you can find the breakdown for present social value by impact. 

Peter Anum, National Director of the Award in Ghana, recently shared how the social value results for Ghana have been positively received by his excellency The President of the Republic of Ghana, as a way of ascertaining and demonstrating our contributions to the socio-economic development of Ghana. Policy makers, institutions, agencies and corporates, now understand the Award’s impact. This gives the Award in Ghana a great opportunity to build on relationships for social investment optimisation. He states:  

“These social value results offer us the greatest opportunity to call on the different actors in the impact ecosystem, government, businesses, non-profit organisations, philanthropists, to collaborate in a more structured way, towards a shared impact interest.” 

More information about these research results, including select country-level 2020 social value and SROI results, and our research methodology can be found in our Building the Future Impact report.  

For more information contact:  
The Research Team at [email protected]

Left to right:

Research Analyst, Sigrid Grosseth

Research Manager, Amy Pearce

Former Director of Impact, Alumni, Trusts & Foundations, Melek De-Wint