Guide Dogs: SROI of the habilitation service

Social Return on Investment of the Guide Dogs’ habilitation service at Jordanstown School


The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (Guide Dogs) commissioned NEF Consulting to undertake a Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis to help them to understand the social value generated from investment in its habilitation service. This SROI analysis focuses on the habilitation service as delivered through Guide Dogs’ contract with Jordanstown School in Northern Ireland. As part of the service, trained habilitation practitioners work with vision impaired children at Jordanstown School to help them to develop orientation, mobility and life skills.


The aims of this analysis were to:

  • Obtain robust and credible figures for the SROI of the habilitation service at Jordanstown School.
  • Deepen Guide Dogs’ understanding of the material stakeholders and outcomes for the habilitation service at Jordanstown School.
  • Provide the foundation and learning for potential future SROI analyses of the wider habilitation service.


Social Return on Investment (SROI) is a rigorous form of cost-benefit analysis recognised by the Cabinet Office. The method helps organisations to better understand the intangible, hard-to-measure social and environmental value they create. Rather than focussing solely on cost savings, the methodology takes account of the full range of impacts that matter to the key stakeholders.


The SROI analysis shows that the Guide Dogs’ habilitation service has clear positive impacts for the children at Jordanstown School using the service, with the biggest gross impacts being around confidence, independence and safety, and skills and knowledge.

For parents, the biggest change is associated with knowledge and awareness.

On an individual basis, the service generates:

  • £6,926 value for a service user, per service user.
  • £1,700 value for a parent, per parent (assuming one parent per service user).


The SROI analysis of the habilitation service provides strong evidence that it provides good value for money. For every £1.00 spent, £7.13 is created in social value. While some of the value relates to parents, the majority value is based on service users themselves. NEF Consulting found that the habilitation service creates £5.72 (for every £1.00 spent) solely from service user outcomes.

Next Steps

This model can be used to support strategic discussions around how time and money can be spent most effectively within Guide Dogs, to deliver stakeholder value. Guide Dogs will be in a position to develop their own approach to capturing social value and to share their knowledge widely across other services – in addition to Children and Young People services. This, in turn, will enable them to better understand, articulate and embed the social value of their services into their decisions.

The end result should be an even more efficient and effective service for children and young people who live with vision impairment.

For more information on Guide Dogs visit their website.

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by @nefconsulting