Circular for September 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.
SAN Training in Leeds
The next Prove, Improve and Account training will be in Leeds 16th & 17th October. Please see the SAN training page for more information.
Have ‘social’ values become too political?
Looking back to when social accounting started in the 1990’s, community business / community enterprise and then social enterprise, was then an alternative way of using economic activity to create social change. It focused around clear socialist values - fairness, justice, equity, caring, co-operation, etc. (Alan Kay notes here that he worked on a EU project in the 1990s that identified 11 common and shared values for Social Enterprise).
A quick look at current social accounting practice shows that these 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'.
This move away from the fundamental values has allowed a different interpretation of social enterprise - which seems in places to be any business operating in the social service sector...
Social enterprise should be about benefiting to most vulnerable in society, and not just trying to make money out of the poverty 'industry'... it is almost that the 'social enterprise' bandwagon is discrediting genuine enterprises that are designed to make society more equitable...
Call for change…
But there is a case in the current political environment for organisations to revisit their impacts on people/groups, the environment, and societial relationships - and ditch the 'economic' impacts which allows others to cast Social Enterprise into a subset of the traditional business sector. Instead, we use economic activity as a means to an end and not an end in itself...
Social Enterprises should think seriously about their values and about making a difference to economically marginalised groups in society. Given the predicted increase in these marginalized groups – with social care funding and service cuts, welfare reform, reductions in public health care and affordable housing, for example, this is where social enterprise can really make a difference. Organisations should be accountable for 'living' their stated values – this is what sets them apart from others and is the catalyst for the creation of what is now termed ‘social value’.
And funders are listening. Co-operation and co-production are now seen as key to getting the most from the dwindling public sector budgets. The Co-operative Councils Network, for example, is gaining strength and in Oldham, the council has introduced a social value model for procurement. This will ensure that all the money the council spends to deliver services provides additional ‘social value’ for the borough.
To do this it includes social value considerations as an integral aspect of the scoring on any council contract. We ask all of our suppliers and potential suppliers to show how they can support Oldham in the following areas;
- Jobs, growth and productivity - as part of our Get Oldham Working campaign we ask how businesses can create new local jobs or apprenticeships, whether they pay the living wage, and whether they support staff to gain additional qualifications.
- Resilient communities and a strong third sector - we ask how the business can help support local voluntary and community organisations and activity, whether their staff participate in employee volunteering, or whether they make their facilities or resources available for community use.
- Prevention and demand management - does the business support preventative services, or does it support other organisations that do - for example the credit union.
- A clean and protected physical environment - what does the business do to reduce the amount of waste generated for landfill, or reduce carbon emissions.
So – whereas being ‘professional’ or ‘accessible’ provides a better service, perhaps being ‘caring’ or ‘co-operative’ or ‘equitable’ or ‘inclusive’ or ‘fair’…. are what will really get you the contract!
Social value Conference in Bradford
Bernie Speight writes.. This event was held on 11th July in Bradford - The day was a success - over 100 delegates from Public & 3rd Sector.
Paul Schofield, Policy Manager, Office for Civil Society, Cabinet Office - gave an overview of the Social Value Act and how Social Investment is growing the sector. He made the point of stressing that 3rd sector need to be involved in designing the social value being written into tenders at an early stage if there is to be true social benefit created.
Bernie Speight, SAN Y&H Regional Co-ordinator gave an introduction to social value, how we create it, social value is a testament to living the organisations 'values' being true to them is what makes the difference; Your USP if you like. The sector needs to begin building the evidence base of social value creation. It is growing importance in today's climate of limited resources means that being accountable to all and gathering feedback from stakeholders is key. Bernie told of success for organisations who have compiled social accounts as they have benefitted internally form improvements made as a consequence of feedback gathered right through to writing stronger more successful tenders and funding applications.
- Social Value helping make better decisions to grow your enterprise - Introducing The SPICE Innovation Framework & Social Accounting with Bernie Speight & Mike Croft Innovation People
- Public Services - The Social Value Act with Wrigleys Solicitors
- Social Impact Tracker - Electroville
- Public Procurement - Duncan Farr Procurement Officer Bradford Council
Keynote Afternoon Speakers
Cllr Patrick Hurley - The Liverpool experience and commitment to Fairness and the Social Value Act. How Liverpool are implementing the Social Value Act and making savings through it. Cllr Hurley spoke of the growing confidence among procurement officers from the social value act as they felt empowered to include things they had avoided previously at the risk of the tender being contested. He told how Liverpool have a 'Fairness' Agenda which is incorporated into the social value act implementation plan they have. Liverpool Council require contractors to pay a living wage not minimum wage etc.
Graeme Oram CEO Five Lamps - How Social Accounting and Audit has transformed the company he leads from the operational impact to the building of an evidence base which has led to success at tendering. Five Lamps' creates social value impact across the North East. Social Accounting has helped Five Lamps win new business and attract social investment for growth.
Delegates requested another event on the subject of Social Value next year to review progress and share experience. For copies of presentations from the day please visit the SEYH website after the 1st August when they should have been posted.
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) consultation on Corporate Social Responsibility
BIS are consulting on Corporate Social Responsibility
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ consultation is open until 27 September 2013. The Corporate responsibility is sometimes known as corporate social responsibility. It is defined as the responsibility of an organisation for the impacts of its decisions on society and the environment above and beyond its legal obligations, through transparent and ethical behaviour.
This call for views seeks to gather your thoughts and ideas on aspects of corporate responsibility. It looks at what government, business and others should and could do in order to realise the full benefits that corporate responsibility can bring. It covers themes including:
- voluntary reporting and disclosure of non-financial information
- responsible supply chain management
- corporate responsibility in small and medium sized enterprises
Your comments will contribute to a framework for action on corporate responsibility. Respond online via the response form or by email, for more information go to
Ethical Consumer Conference
This year's Ethical Consumer conference (and AGM) is to be held in association with New Internationalist and Red Pepper and will explore the question 'Is there a co-operative alternative to capitalism?'
We have a really exciting day of talks and workshops planned and some excellent guest speakers including Ed Mayo (Secretary General of Co-ops UK), Paul Monaghan (Up the Ethics/Co-op Energy) and Hilary Wainwright (Red Pepper).
It will take place at the Amnesty International HQ in London on September 27th, and will run from 12:00 until 5:30. At 6.00pm there will be a drinks reception where we will launch our new book, 'People over Profit' and hear from some of the chapter authors. For more information see www.ethicalconsumer.org/cooperativealternative.aspx
Places are limited so, to add yourself to the list of interested parties, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with 'September conference' in the subject line. You'll receive a notification email when the formal booking process is up and running.
SAA workshop in Melbourne
What do these countries have in common: India, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Italy, Spain, Greece, Ireland, UK, Poland, Kazakhstan, and Russia? All of them are now home to Social Audit Networks Social Accounting and Auditing Manual!
Social Accounting and Audit (SAA) has been growing globally. The ultimate purpose of social accounting which is the process of producing verified accounts of the social, environmental and economic effects of an organisation’s actions – is to assist with responding to the complexities of assessing social impact.
Why attend this workshop?
- To better understand the processes involved in proving and improving your organisations impact
- To help your organisation more effectively monitor and steer itself to perform better
- To report on what your organisation is doing in a holistic way
What you will take away
- A clearer understanding of the benefits of SAA
- Realisation that audited accounts can be used to promote your organisation
- Knowledge of SAA requirements and ways to ensure manageability
Offered as a Pre-Conference Workshop at the Measuring Social Outcomes Conference
Monday 14th October 2013, 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Register on line at: Online: www.improvingsocialoutcomes.com