What is Social Auditing?
Social auditing is a process that enables an organisation to assess and demonstrate its social, economic, and environmental benefits and limitations. It is a way of measuring the extent to which an organisation lives up to the shared values and objectives it has committed itself to.
Social auditing provides an assessment of the impact of an organisation's non-financial objectives through systematically and regularly monitoring its performance and the views of its stakeholders.
Social auditing requires the involvement of stakeholders. This may include employees, clients, volunteers, funders, contractors, suppliers and local residents interested in the organisation. Stakeholders are defined as those persons or organisations who have an interest in, or who have invested resources in, the organisation.
Social audits are generated by the organisation themselves and those directly involved. A person or panel of people external to the organisation undertakes verification of the social audit's accuracy and objectivity.
What does Social Auditing Involve?
The social auditing process requires an intermittent but clear time commitment from a key person within the organisation. This social auditor liases with others in the organisation and designs, co-ordinates, analyses and documents the information collected during the process.
Social auditing information is collected through research methods that include social bookkeeping, surveys and case studies. The objectives of the organisation are the starting point from which indicators of impact are determined, stakeholders identified and research tools designed in detail.
The collection of information is an on-going process, often done in 12-month cycles and resulting in the organisation establishing social bookkeeping and the preparation of an annual social audit document/report.
Experience has shown that it is important to provide training to the social auditor as well as mentoring during the first few years. If well facilitated, social auditors from different organisations can become self-supporting for subsequent year