Circular for August 2011
List of Contents
News and Developments
Contacts & Coordinators
Welcome to the August 2011 edition of the SAN circular newsletter, which as usual features news of social accounting activity from around the world.
Starting close to home, Reach 4 the Stars in Sheffield has announced that it will be supporting a 'cluster' of social economy organisations through the process of social accounting, in order to produce a set of social accounts for each organisation over the coming months. This approach has been successful across both the UK and beyond, as enterprises are able to share the cost of support, share ideas and solutions and provide mutual encouragement!
Well done to the Wise Group and other top social enterprises featured in this year's SE100 Impact reporting charts! Social accounting and audit again features highly in the list of tools used by these organisations to successfully report on their social, environmental and economic impact.
And talking of tools – two you may not have heard of are featured in this newsletter – both of which can be used alongside the Prove, Improve and Account guide... A word of warning however, the impact measurement tool market is becoming crowded, and further guidance on your way through the maze can be found in your new Guide to social accounting and audit (check the SAN website for ordering details!).
Although not usually given to plugging the efforts of others, there has been a lot of attention focussed this month on the Guardian website's Social Enterprise Network, which featured discussion on the reporting of social impact. Key figures from across the sector took part in a web based discussion, the notes from which can be viewed online.
SAN intends to have a strong attendance at the Locality gathering on 1st and 2nd November in Manchester – I understand that there are discounts to be had for those booking early. Our own conference will be held in March 2012, in London – see Stop Press for details.
Finally, as interest across the world grows in accounting for social value, please remember to send your social accounting and audit news to Anne Lythgoe
Guardian Social Enterprise Network
SAN doesn't usually do plugs for other people, but we recently discovered the Guardian website's Social Enterprise Network: http://www.guardian.co.uk/social-enterprise-network
when they held an online webinar about social impact measurement.
SAN newsletter contributors took part, Alan Kay stating "I am very interested in this debate as I think that it is becoming increasingly important for more social enterprises to actively engage in measuring or assessing their social, environmental and local economic performance and impact. The Social Audit Network has been working in this field for quite a number of years and have produced the new Guide to Social Accounting and Audit to make the whole process more accessible to all Third Sector organisations. My main question is how do we get more organisations to keep social accounts or equivalent? Do we make it mandatory for procurement contracts? Encourage it as best practice? Or concentrate on getting organisation to see the tangible benefits?" and Adrian Ashton encouraged us to "take up the customers' perspective" as part of our social reporting.
Also check out the responses from a panel of social enterprise experts on the Open Public Services White Paper: http://www.guardian.co.uk/social-enterprise-network/2011/jul/26/open-public-services-white-paper-expert-advice-social-enterprises and the article on ethical procurement: http://www.guardian.co.uk/social-enterprise-network/2011/jul/12/government-procurement-ethical-economy
1-2 November 2011, Palace Hotel, Manchester
Locality '11: communities ambitious for change is a major new highlight in the calendar. It will be the largest event of its kind across the country, with over 500 community-led regeneration practitioners and supporters expected to attend.
Book your place before 31 August and save 20%.
Locality '11 is a unique opportunity to join the UK's largest gathering of community-led organisations – to talk openly about our challenges and opportunities, to share stories and learn from others, to inspire and be inspired.
You can visit some of our innovative Manchester members; learn more about Community Organisers, neighbourhood planning, asset transfer and community enterprise at our hands-on workshops; join the debate on The Big Society; and develop your marketing, investment and negotiating skills.
Adrian Ashton writes...
"For a while now, I've noticed a growing interest and 'appetite' amongst social enterprises and other organisations I've worked with and supported to do some form of impact evaluation – they want to better 'tell their story' and understand the what/where/when/why and who they make a difference to. But as the same time, there's also been a noticeable lack of people actually doing it...
So I have been looking at "LIM" (Local Impact Assessment). It's taken its starting point as being those broad issues and themes that are most commonly of interest to commissioning bodies when they seek to identify 'added value' when awarding contracts (and explains why measuring these issues are also useful in informing internal management decisions); it's also designed to be able to be easily completed in an afternoon (or morning) and rather than generate a text-heavy report, it produces an attractive 'infographic' (great for marketing purposes).
Steve Fox writes...
"I would like explore the possibility of running a Rickter Scale impact measurement training course for SAN practitioners. For more information about this tool, go to: http://www.rickterscale.com/"
If anyone is interested in attending an event, please e-mail me at email@example.com
SE Live Social Reporting
The RBS SE100 Data Report was published in July and contained a league table of social enterprises whose impact reporting is exemplary...
"For a social enterprise to be a success it has to have a positive impact on the world. But how do you prove and communicate this? The RBS SE100 Index has set out to chart the effort of the sector in measuring and reporting its impact, and to celebrate those organisations forging a way forward in this complex field.
We constructed a series of relatively basic, 'yes' or 'no' questions, from the most simple – do you have a public statement about your impact or added value as a social business? – to tasks that obviously required more effort – such as setting budgets, reporting regularly to the board, carrying out full scale impact measurement exercises and then getting it all checked by a registered social auditor.
Encouragingly, there are signs from the index that the newer social enterprises in particular view the collection and communication of data about their impact as something they should carry out as a matter of course – an important component of the well-oiled business machinery rather than a later bolt-on accessory."
Well done to the Wise Group, FRC Group, Cosmic and Speaking Up, who all scored 5 out of 5 in the survey, but also to other organizations who prepare social accounts and are listed in the report!
Sheffield Training Opportunity
An exciting new opportunity for organisations in South Yorkshire to train in social accounting
Sheffield Social Accounting Cluster –
Reach 4 the Stars, Sheffield, will be hosting social accounting workshops on alternate Thursdays from September 22nd 2011 to March 15th 2012, 9.45 - 1pm. We are currently looking for four organizations willing to take part in Sheffield's first social accounting cluster.
The first session on September 22nd will be FREE, and even if you don't want to join the network, it will give you a good introduction to social accounting and audit. After that, the fee will be £40 per person per session. By the end of the course, which lasts seven months, you can expect to have produced a set of draft social accounts.
The course will be held at SCEDU, 53 Mowbray Street Sheffield S3 8EN
If you would like your organisation to be one of the four chosen for the first Sheffield Social Accounting Cluster please email your contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
News and Developments
SAN Training Programme
SAN has recently updated its training programme, with a number of new events across England and Scotland over the coming months. SAN can run several types of training event: the two day Social Accounting Prove, Improve and Account (PIA) course; the one day Social Auditor Workshop for people want to audit social accounts; a one day Introduction to Social Accounting and Audit; a half day Taster on social accounting; and a Measuring Social Impact course. All these courses use the new Guide to Social Accounting and Audit. There is also a one day training course for those involved in training/facilitating the PIA using the new Guide - participants are usually invited to attend this course and comes with an electronic "package".
The PIA works through the Four Steps of the Social Accounting and Audit process and is designed for people who either wish to use social accounting in their own organisation or wish to assist other organisations prepare social accounts... For more information and list of upcoming events check out the SAN website.
SAN Practice Case Studies
SAN is always looking for organisations to feature as Case Studies in both this newsletter and on the SAN website. A number of these have been prepared following the SAN research project.
There are now 26 Case studies on the SAN website, accompanied by a handy directory feature to help you select the best for your needs.
Register of Social Auditors
Anyone wishing to become approved as a SAN Social Auditor should contact their Regional Co-ordinator in the first instance - see end of Circular. Prospective auditors are required to attend a SAN Social Auditor workshop and to have attended at least two social audit panels and written a set of notes before being mentored, when they chair a first panel for themselves.
PLEASE NOTE SAN ADDRESS:C/O The Workspace, All Saints Road, Wolverhampton, WV2 1EL
Tel:01902 877565 - Fax: 01902 877531 - Email:firstname.lastname@example.org