Circular for September 2011
List of Contents
News and Developments
Contacts & Coordinators
The September 2011 edition of the SAN circular newsletter starts with news that the SAN website ( http://socialauditnetwork.org.uk/ ) is shortly to be refreshed and improved to include yet more useful information for those folk who want to know more about social accounting and audit and in particular how to Prove, Improve and Account. The new website will be launched in November.
In Asia, SAN Vice Chair, Alan Kay, will represent SAN as the guest of the Korean Foundation for Social Investment (who are now members of SAN) in late October. Alan will lead and facilitate workshops and talks around social accounting and audit and impact measurement as part of the visit to Seoul in South Korea.
Alan has also recently published two articles about the measurement of social impact for 'Third Force news'. An excerpt from the first of these articles is below, together with a link to the full article. In it, Alan describes how social accounting grew out of the community business movement, and how they were judged only on the basis of their profitability. Today, social and community enterprises still struggle to have their non-financial value recognised in commissioning or competitive tendering situations.
Alan's second article will feature in next month's circular.
Meanwhile, in London, the Public Services (Social Enterprise and Social Value) Bill crawls slowly through Parliament. Having received cross party support, and subject to minor amendments at the Committee stage, it appears likely to become law in England in due course. Nick Hurd MP, the Cabinet Office Secretary said: 'The primary measure that the Government are supporting is the requirement for contracting bodies to consider how they might promote or improve economic, social or environmental well-being when commissioning services. This includes a requirement that authorities consider whether to consult the persons who will benefit from the service. The decision on how authorities should take account of this wider value is left to the authority. It is already best practice to take account of wider value when undertaking procurement and to consult in such circumstances, and guidance and tools are already available.'
Our suggestion is that you find out how your contracting authority will do this – SAN is lobbying public authorities across the country, raising awareness of the 'guidance and tools'. Please contact your regional coordinator in the first instance (list at the end of this newsletter) to see how SAN can help.
Finally, as interest across the world grows in accounting and reporting of social value, please remember to send your social accounting and audit news to Anne Lythgoe
So why should we have to measure our social impact anyway?
I have worked with social and community enterprises for a long time – even in those days when they were called community businesses and there was a 'Community Business Movement' in Scotland. In those days community businesses were set up by local people wanting to use business methods to create jobs for the long term unemployed in their communities and to provide services that had been reduced due to swingeing government and local authority cutbacks. Community businesses had a central purpose to create social or community benefit. The idea was that community owned business would be given a start-up funds initially and they would trade, become profitable and use the surplus to create more jobs and services. Some of them did this and are still surviving, but others went under as they struggled to become profitable while maximising services and real and secure jobs in difficult social and economic environments. The trouble was that they were being judged only on the basis of their profitability - not on the social and economic benefits that they were creating. Some of us felt this was an unfair way of judging success as it only used the yardstick of finance and ignored the social and community benefits that were lost when they closed down. So we thought to create a DIY method of assessing and keeping an account of social and community benefit reflecting the central purpose of a community business. Organisations could keep social accounts to run alongside their financial accounts – giving a holistic picture of benefit and success. And to provide integrity, these social accounts could be audited externally. Thus the idea of social accounting and audit was born...
Article originally written for Third Force News. Alan Kay is a SAN Board Member and can be contacted at the following email address - email@example.com
Social Impact Scotland
The Social Audit Network has provided the Social Impact Scotland portal with updated Social Audit and Accounting information and links, available at:
Also, two new Case Studies have been added, taking a look at how the organisations have used SROI to measure their social impact:
The Social Impact Scotland portal is currently developing further information on Social Impact Measurement over the next month, with content aimed at the Third Sector, Public Sector, in addition to information for Funders and Social Investors. If you have carried out a method of Social Impact Measurement and are interested in being included as a Case Study on the Social Impact Scotland site, or would like further information, please contact
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