Social Value Act
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In Conversation With whatimpact: Understanding the New Requirements of the Social Value Act

The element of social impact is becoming of increasing importance to the UK Government. Changes made in 2020 to the Social Value Act – which originally came into force in January of 2013 – requires all those who are seeking government contracts to prove how they are delivering on social value priorities.

Tiia Sammallahti, CEO and Founder, whatimpact
Tiia Sammallahti, CEO and Founder, whatimpact

Following the update to the policy, it is no longer deemed sufficient for companies to add general corporate policies and corporate responsibility statements to a tender. Companies who seek and hold government contracts are now required to deliver clear and targeted evidence of their social value improvements every quarter; or risk losing their contracts altogether.

To gain an on-the-ground perspective of how companies are meeting the updated CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) requirements, The Fintech Times sat down in conversation with Tiia Sammallahti, the CEO and Founder of whatimpact.

So who is Tiia Sammallahti, and how exactly is whatimpact helping companies meet the new requirements outlined in the Social Value Act?

Tell me more about whatimpact.

whatimpact is an AI matchmaking platform, connecting companies, and charities to help implement CSR programmes in line with the new requirements in the Social Value Act (SVA). Ernst & Young, Brewin Dolphin, Equiida, and other prominent finance businesses have already joined whatimpact to comply with new regulations and to run more effective CSR programmes.

What was the inspiration behind creating whatimpact, what problem are you trying to solve?

Since 2017, we’ve wanted to create a platform that provides a voice to all charities regardless of size or cause. Our aim was to match and align charities with companies that shared a common goal and sought to solve the same issue. Within a year, the platform had become the UK’s top charity search site.

As we grew, we knew we’d need to evolve to keep up with sector demands and to ensure we make the biggest impact possible. This was when we founded, an expanded platform that includes social enterprises, companies, and grantmakers as well as charities so that organisations can interact and share resources with ease.

The platform is a hub for all impact activity where users can list their goals, their previous work, co-founding opportunities, and resource requests and offers.

What makes whatimpact unique?

In January, the Procurement Policy Note came into effect which now requires all companies that bid for public contracts to present a social value delivery plan and to report back on their social value impact. If not, they run the risk of losing their contract.

However, for many companies directing and verifying social value is a burdensome and complicated process. whatimpact helps ease this confusion by requiring charities to report back to companies via their social impact reporting tool which is directly compatible with the eight outcomes and their specific award criteria.

This is a completely unique tool.

In layman’s terms, how does the platform connect finance companies and charities with AI?

whatimpact is an AI matchmaking platform, connecting donors with charities and social enterprises quickly and transparently.

We use a machine-learning algorithm to match companies with the right causes quickly & easily. Our matchmaking platform does the due diligence for you and provides post-project reports to illustrate the social value and ROI you’ve provided.

Our AI technology identifies similar topics and words within user profiles and uses these commonalities to match organisations. Organisations with a similar ethos, visions, and projections are recognised as potential matches and users are automatically notified.

Why is this necessary for financial companies?

The new Procurement Policy Note requires all financial companies that bid for public contracts to present a social value delivery plan and to report back on their social value impact, or risk losing their contract.

We also know that financial companies are increasingly committed to engaging with societal issues in a meaningful way. whatimpact can help financial companies build a coherent community engagement strategy but helping companies manage their CSR activities efficiently, find the right partner and genuinely understand and report on their impact.


  • Tyler is a fintech journalist with specific interests in online banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

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