PwC with National Highways

PwC with National Highways


MCA Awards Finalist 2024

National Highways needed to demonstrate the broad range of value it was delivering, in order to retain both its statutory and societal permissions. Ultimately, such recognition of the organisation’s social value helps to shore up its role as the government’s provider of strategic road infrastructure and secure ongoing investment to operate, maintain and improve this network.

Although the concept of social value was widely recognised within the organisation, the variety of perspectives was equally wide, so it could not readily tell a coherent story of the social value created by its work. We therefore encouraged the company to step back, to rethink its overall purpose and

how that related to the social value it wanted to deliver. A key output from this was a commitment to update its long-term vision. In addition, the firm was asked to streamline how the client measured and reported its social impact, through both quantitative metrics and qualitative stories, to improve strategic decision-making and stakeholder communication.

Preliminary investigations revealed more than 100 disparate KPIs, which reflected differing ideas of social value that often focused on distinct activities, such as procurement, value for money or one-off community events. Equally, in areas where the client was creating excellent social value, the lack of a holistic context made it difficult to associate that value with the organisation’s overall purpose.

To develop the social value plan, PwC’s multidisciplinary team drew on the World Economic Forum’s social value guidance and the strategic vision of the Social Value 2032 Roadmap, which provides a framework for embedding social value in public sector procurement, to stimulate the creation of social value by private sector suppliers.

The firm conducted interviews a wide range of stakeholders and employees from across the business, to understand the full breadth of perspectives and achieve widespread buy-in. Faced with such a high volume and rich variety of information, PwC developed a ‘categorisation machine’ to codify the knowledge in terms of its importance to the client, its stakeholders and its communities, and in relation to what good looks like across both public and private sectors.

By building a coherent consensus throughout the organisation, PwC then had a sound basis for rationalising and baselining clear indicators of National Highway’s social impact, and developed a Social Value Tool that allows National Highways to see, and tell, its social impact through quarterly metrics and stories. The organisation now has its first published social value plan, and a set of just 18 top-level metrics that summarise its overall social value, including economic prosperity, environment, community wellbeing, and diversity and inclusion.

By embracing the diversity of thought in the organisation, drawing on best practice guidance, and developing an innovative methodology, PwC helped the client clearly understand and articulate its social value. The firm created a unified and commonly-understood vision for National Highways, developed a social value strategy, agreed baseline metrics and built a reporting tool that now delivers quantitative and qualitative insights, allowing the client’s social value to be counted and its stories to be told.

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