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About Us

Vision, Mission, Values, Objectives & History


The Social Audit Network provides and promotes an accessible social accounting and audit process for the community, social economy and public sectors to effectively understand the social, environmental and economic difference they are making.


The Social Audit Network seeks to promote and support social accounting and audit as the approach for organisations, particularly those operating in and with the community, social economy and public sectors to report on their social, environmental and economic performance, and understand the impact of their actions on key stakeholders.


  • We believe in social justice for all sections of society

  • We believe that taking control of monitoring and evaluation can empower individuals, organisations and communities

  • We believe in collaboration and partnership working when and where possible

  • We believe in being transparent and open in our actions


  1. To support and encourage organisations undertaking social accounting and audit

  2. To support and encourage SAN approved auditors

  3. To maintain SAN as a sustainable network

SAN, and social accounting and audit, have their roots in the social economy. 

In the 1980s, Strathclyde Community Business Ltd recognised the need to understand, account for and report on the social benefits of the community businesses which were being established throughout Scotland. Using practical thinking and experimentation led to what became known as "the Scottish model" which, blended with the experience of the New Economics Foundation (nef) working with Traidcraft plc, was published later in "Social Auditing for Small Organisations: The Workbook’.   

Programmes of social accounting took place across the UK, with clusters in Liverpool, South West England, the North East, Scotland and West Midlands all contributing towards the growth of a network of learning and practice. 

SAN itself was established by members of a national network of evaluation, social business and community development practitioners which had existed since the mid-1990s in the UK. As interest in social accounting increased, it was decided to formalise and form an organisation which provides support, practice-sharing and learning; as well as regulating the social audit arrangements. SAN UK Limited was incorporated as a company limited by guarantee in 2006.

For those who are interested, you can download A Brief History of Social Accounting and Audit.


Much of this work can be attributed to the founder of SAN - John Pearce 

John was a major and influential force in community development and in particular was a pioneer in community enterprise - the precursor to social enterprise.

For nearly fifty years, John‘s ideas, inspiration and talent for clear thinking were a driving force behind people-centred development and especially around the principles and practice of collective and community enterprise.

He was a thinker who managed to turn theories into practice and directly helped the development of communities in Scotland, the UK and wider afield. 

Together with his colleague, Alan Kay, John set up and led SAN for many years until his death in 2011.


An archive of John’s writing has been retained by Glasgow Caledonian University which also hosts an annual John Pearce Memorial Lecture.

SAN owes a huge debt of gratitude to former Director Alan Kay.  With a background in overseas development, Alan lived and worked in East Africa and South East Asia before returning to Scotland and worked with community-owned enterprises and social enterprises. Alan helped to found the Social Audit Network and was for many years our premier Social Auditor.  He wrote Prove, Improve Account: the Guide to Social Accounting and Audit and was an Associate Lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University.   He was also a Director of CBS Network, a Member of the Institute for Economic Development and a Visiting Fellow of the Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health.  

Now retired from SAN, Alan is an artist  who specialises in landscapes and structural paintings. 

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