About this toolkit

Social Life was commissioned by Sutton Council, in early 2014, to design and test a new approach to measuring social sustainability in Sutton’s neighbourhoods. The council’s aim was to develop a toolkit for officers to put social sustainability at the centre of the borough’s work on local area programmes, and commissioning for social impact. This toolkit sets out the approach that has been developed by Social Life, working closely with Sutton officers.

The tool is intended to:

  • baseline a community in terms of its existing social sustainability
  • frame a discussion with residents about the assets and needs of the community
  • generate priorities that inform both area renewal and the commissioning of services
  • be capable of being applied across different neighbourhoods and initiatives in the future, providing a methodology and a common set of terms for use across the authority.

In developing the tookit, a balance has been struck between the wish to develop a tool that captures the complexity of social sustainability in diverse urban and suburban areas; and the need to be easily replicable at relatively low cost.

The toolkit was developed in early 2014 and tested in Beddington, to inform the council’s Beddington Programme. Social Life’s work in Beddington is included throughout the toolkit as an illustration of how the approach can work in practice.

 For more information contact Sam Barker, at sam.barker@sutton.gov.uk 


Social Life is a social enterprise. We work with local government, housing associations, community organisations and housing developers on different ways to make places thrive. Social Life aims to put people at the heart of placemaking. Social Life was set up in 2012 by the Young Foundation. For more about our work, visit www.social-life.co