Circular for August 2015

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Contacts & Coordinators

Social Audit Network August 2015

Materiality and Monetisation…


Private Eye magazine has called into question national government policy here in the UK in its recent cartoon. 

Monetising ‘the start, the moon, the galaxy’ gives them value, and also calls into question the concept of ownership … value being a relative thing which implies ownership or ‘interest’ by people. Giving the stars a financial value implies that they a commodity which can be traded between people. Monetisation can also imply that the ‘cash’ is real.

An interesting parallel to this is that many tribes in Africa, and indeed clans in Scotland several hundred years ago did not have a concept of individual ownership of land - any more than the air we breathe or stars in the sky are 'owned'.  

Then along came the British Empire placing a monetised value on land, insisting that the 'chief' of the clan or tribe should own the land.  Previously the clan land was thought of as a common resource - a necessity for life and similar to the air we breathe. Insisting land should be privately owned meant that it could then be bought and sold.  Arguably over the last few hundred years this has led to increasing inequalities... If we had not monetised resources and instead they were held in common ownership then we might be living in a fairer world.  

The moral of this story is perhaps beware of monetisation.... or at least use it carefully and thoughtfully. 

Giving your ‘social value’ a financial value could imply more than you mean… monetisation gives a financial illustration and is not ‘cashable’. At the moment, offering a financial value to your social impacts to someone in the Public Sector could make them think of savings! Given the state of local government budgets in this country, all commissioners are scratching around looking for cheaper ways to do things and places to make cuts!

So the ‘top tip’ is to start by thinking about materiality – measure what can be directly linked to what you do and what matters to your organisation! Describe your outcomes and impact using quantitative and qualitative indicators, and only then think about whether illustrating these in financial terms is useful; either to your own organisation in its planning or to better describe your work to potential investors. 

But beware of the possible traps… not everything can be monetised, and not everything that can be monetised can then be turned into cash!

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the evidence that I am collecting relevant to the outcomes and impact I want to show?
  • Are my data sources reliable and fully explained?
  • Am I using robust methods for consulting stakeholders (including accessibility, sample sizes, response rates, appropriateness, etc)?
  • Is the data I am using for my social accounts adequately up to date?
  • Am I able to clearly describe the methods used and assumptions made for calculating the financial value of impact?

For more information, have a look round the SAN website

Materiality is a principle shared by the Social Audit Network and Social Value UK and is part of the process of Social Audit.


Train to be a social accountant

Current dates for training can be found at the SAN website and include:

9th - 10th September 2015

PIA 2 day course


16th – 17th September 2015

PIA 2 day course


10th - 11th November 2015

PIA 2 day course


The PIA Workshop aims to introduce participants to the process of social accounting and audit and to explore the resources in the SAN Guide and CD from both doer and facilitator point of view. Learning outcomes include to be able to compile a set of social accounts of one’s own organisation and present these for audit; and to be able to assist others in the process.

Further PIA courses are planned in Leeds and Salford later in the year.

NEW Social Audit training course

SAN has been piloting a new Prove, Improve, Account course in Salford. Aimed at commissioning and procurement staff, the 2 day course mixes learning about social accounting and audit from a provider’s point of view, with applied tasks to ‘social value proof’ a service specification and evaluate responses to ‘social value’ questions in a tender situation.

Anyone interested in finding out more about this course should contact the SAN office or email Anne Lythgoe ( 

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International SAN

SAN India update

Aruna Subramaniam writes to SAN:

Warm greetings from CSIM, Bangalore and Aruna! 

Well, we've been carrying forward the SAA programme here in Bangalore for the last four years, starting with EnAble India. Currently, we are facilitating the writing of social accounts for six organisations. Simultaneously, we are also looking to train more social auditors - currently I am the only one here.

You'll be glad to know that two more people have gone through the Social Audit training from Bangalore and are now eager to get their accreditation done with SAN, UK and India.

Ms Usha Ravi is our Joint Director and has been with us for the past three years. Apart from attending panels and writing shadow notes for different organisations, Usha is writing the social accounts for an organisation called NeedBase India which will be completed in November. Last month, she also chaired an audit panel for Jude Felix Hockey Academy (JFHA) - I mentored her through this.
Ms Nazneen Mistri is on our Governing Council with an active advisory role. She also takes sessions on CSR for our training programmes.  Nazneen has written the accounts for JFHA.  Nazneen will chair one in Chennai with Latha mentoring her.
Both of them are also involved in the SAA facilitation which we carry out through CSIM.

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New Resources

Salford CVS has launched a new web-based resource intended to support community, voluntary and smaller social enterprise organisations to measure social value. The pages include tips about the different tools available and case studies of how organisations in the social economy in Salford have told the story of their social, environmental and economic impacts.

Social Enterprise UK has worked with partners Wates Living Space, PwC, Orbit Group and Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) to launch the Communities Counts Toolkit to provide a practical social value toolkit for housing professionals.

For those lucky to work in and around Manchester, the Greater Manchester Open Data Infrastructure Map is an open map of relevant public and private infrastructure data. The map makes use of existing local, regional and national datasets on a variety of topics - from open public sector and environmental assets to energy utility networks. You can find and play with it at and use the data to better understand your market, or provide data / benchmarking in your social accounts.

There is an explanatory background blog by New Economy about the GM Open Data Infrastructure Map at

In case it might be useful to your organisation – especially putting your social enterprise into a global context – there is a new video from the British Council – Social enterprise: an idea whose time has come -

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People Helping People conference – 10th and 11th September 2015

People-Helping-People-300x150.jpgThe People Helping People Event is held over two days and will look at the landscape and tools we have to build and support a ‘people helping people’ culture. The first day will focus on the role of and potential for volunteering in delivering social impact. The second day will focus on social value and how to apply it. 

We have invited a range of national, regional and local speakers to address, provoke and challenge and want to create a vibrant environment for learning, networking, sharing and innovation. SAN Director, Bernie Speight, has filmed a video presentation for delegates about how to measure social value.

THURSDAY – DAY 1: Volunteering (free to attend) will include international best practice in volunteer inclusion and development, practical strategies for recruiting and communicating with volunteers; measuring the impact of volunteers – and translating that into social and economic values.

FRIDAY – DAY 2: Social Value  (reduced price of £25 to attend) will include the landscape on social value and its application three years on from the Act; technical areas around social value, reporting and measurement and how public and private sector use social value in people procurement.

To book your place, go to: or email:

Social Value UK Conference – CRITICAL MASS

Critical Mass is the conference for anyone interested in social value, investment and innovation, whether you're a corporate, social enterprise, charity or public sector organisation. This year's event is taking place at the iconic Royal Institution in central London on 19th-20th October. Critical Mass will bring the best of SVI's global membership and Good Deals' position as the leading UK conference for social enterprise, social value, impact investment and corporate social innovation. 

Social Value UK has kindly offered a discount to all SAN members for this conference. If you are a SAN member and wish to attend, please contact the SAN office on for your discount code. This will give you 10% off your admission charge.

Guide to Social Enterprise Planning now available from SAN

The Social Audit Network is pleased to be able to offer the Guide to Social Enterprise Planning published by Community Business Scotland Network through their trading arm (JUST the Business) for sale at £15.00 each, and is making a contribution to the Social Enterprise Collection (archive) at Glasgow Caledonian University. The Guide, which only exists in electronic copy, combines the essential elements of business planning with the need for systems to track and account for social change.  

For further details and to order your copy, contact Sandra -

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Stop Press

Social Audit Network Prove Improve Account (PIA) workshop

There are a few places left for the Social Audit Network Prove Improve Account (PIA) workshop at The Pod in Coventry on 9th – 10th July 2015.

Please forward this information to someone who might benefit from this and call the SAN office for more information and booking on 0151 706 8121 or email

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Contacts and Coordinators

North East England

Julie Gowland

South East

Barbara Beaton

South Central England

Dave Furze

North West England

Liz Brooks Allen and Anne Lythgoe

West Midlands and East Midlands

Iftikar Karim (until June 2016) and Sean Smith

Yorkshire and Humber

Bernie Speight

South West England

Helen Vines

Northern Ireland

Peter MacCafferty