Circular for October 2013
List of Contents
Contacts & Coordinators
Welcome to this month's SAN newsletter, containing news and articles about the practice of social accounting and audit, and measuring social value, from across the UK and around the world.
The Social Audit Network promotes and supports social accounting and audit as the preferred means for organisations operating in the community, social economy and public sectors to report on their social, environmental and economic performance.
Prove, Improve and Account courses are planned for Wolverhampton (13th and 14th November). Please see the SAN training page for more information.
SAN is also looking to hold Prove, Improve and Account Courses in the New Year in the north-west of England – please contact Anne Lythgoe for more information.
Also in the schedule will be a Prove, Improve, Account ‘Train the Trainer’ course on 16th January 2014. Attendance at this course will give trainers the authority to use SAN materials and deliver their own PIA course. If you would like to take part, please contact the SAN office.
‘Dumbing down’ social value…
Following last month’s article ‘Is social value getting too political?’ SAN has received a response from Australia urging SAN newsletter readers to check out the article published at:http://www.thesustainabilityreport.com.au/new-co-op-body-to-stress-economic-social-value-of-model/4345/ which points out why the cooperative form of social enterprises need their own set of “social impact” metrics to ensure that what they think is important is actually being measured.
Readers will recall that a quick look at current social accounting practice has shown that important values appear to have been downgraded in favour of a focus on operational values (eg. accessibility, welcoming, efficient, professional); the ethical values once shared by social enterprise are now thought to be too 'political'.
Our correspondent feels that the Australian co-operatives sector has seen this as a problem for some time and organisations do not seem to be measuring what are the most important aspects of their work such as building social capital, generating community well-being, tackling poverty, inequality and social exclusion etc and perhaps these ‘values’ are being ‘dumbed down’ in favour of a more ‘corporate’ approach.
If you would like to join this debate – email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SAN sets out its plans for 2014 and beyond…
The SAN Board of Directors have set out a clear purpose statement for 2014 and beyond… and revamped the company’s Business Plan to focus on work to support the growing use of the SAN method of social accounting and audit.
With the passing of the Public Services (Social Value) Act earlier this year, public sector bodies are starting to bring in new commissioning and procurement arrangements, which could be an advantage to the social economy…
But sadly, many social enterprise and voluntary sector organisations may lose out if they cannot prove and report on their social value.
SAN intends to support as many organisations as possible to learn about and develop social accounting methods. This will start initially through our regional networks, and will see increased awareness raising and learning activity across England and Wales. If you are interested in finding out more, contact your regional co-ordinator (see end of this newsletter) or contact the SAN office email@example.com.
SAN will shortly be improving its Membership arrangements, so that options include:
- Individual Ordinary / Social Auditor Membership
- Small Organisation Membership
- Medium / Large Organisation Membership
- SAN Affiliation – for overseas organizations
The new arrangements will apply for all new membership applications, and for existing members from April 2014 onwards. Further information will be available shortly.
Social Enterprise UK – Social Value in Health and Care programme
Social Enterprise UK has started to work in 4 areas across England to facilitate the development of ‘social value’ commissioning arrangements. The work, which is supported by IVAR (Institute for Voluntary Action Research), will see diagnostic work, partnership building, action planning and learning about the tools available to measure social value.
In one of the areas, Salford, SAN will be supporting this work. This will build upon recent capacity building work across the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector, as well as with public sector commissioners, notably Salford City Council. The City’s Mayor, Ian Stewart, is a keen supporter of seeking social value from commissioning, particularly as it complements his plans for a Co-operative City. The local MP, Hazel Blears, has also been a long standing backer of the Social Value Act, championing cross-party support through Parliament.
The other areas are Calderdale, Halton and Milton Keynes.
The Social Enterprise Mark
The Social Enterprise Mark needs your help in researching the impact of the Public Services (Social Value) Act, which was designed to create opportunities for social enterprises in delivering public services in England and parts of Wales. By answering a few, simple questions you can help to increase understanding of whether obligations are being fulfilled, or if more needs to be done in designing contracts for delivery of social value. These are the questions for Social Enterprise Mark holders: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/socentsocialvalue
You could also forward the link below to your commissioning, procurement or buying contacts to help them collect information regarding the design and assessment of contracts by public bodies. It will take less than 5 minutes of their time: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/commissionsocialvalue
The Social Enterprise Mark independently assesses whether an organisation uses at least 50% of profits or surpluses to fulfil social or environmental objectives. Help them understand how the Social Value Act has started to create opportunities for social enterprises and how things are changing.
SAN gathering 2013/14
Making a Difference
The Social Audit Network
Conference & Annual Gathering
Newcastle University Business School
5 Barrack Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4SE
Friday 4th April 2014
Speakers will include:
- Prof Tony Chapman (Durham University)
- Chi Onwurah MP
- Prof John Wilson (Newcastle University Business School)
- Tris Lumley (New Philanthropy Capital)
And workshops are planned, including:
- Social Accounting for Housing
- Social Accounting for Transport
- Social Accounting for Leisure
- The Social Audit Process
- Priorities for SAN in the North East