Social Audit: Objectives & Advantages

What is Social Audit?

  • Social auditing is a process by which an organization / government accounts for its social performance to its stakeholders and seeks to improve its future social performance. The concept was pioneered by Charles Medawar in 1972.
  • A social audit helps to narrow gaps between vision/goal and reality and between efficiency and effectiveness. It allows us to measure, verify, report on and to improve the social performance of any government effort or organization.
  • Social Audit is different from the development audit. The key difference between development audit and social audit is that a social audit focuses on the neglected issue of social impacts, while a development audit has a broader focus including environment and economic issues, such as the efficiency of a project or programme.

Objectives of Social Audit

  • To assess the physical and financial gaps between needs and resources available for local development.
  • Creating awareness among beneficiaries and providers of local social and productive services.
  • Increasing efficacy and effectiveness of local development programmes.
  • Scrutiny of various policy decisions, keeping in view stakeholder’s interests and priorities, particularly of rural poor.
  • Estimation of the opportunity cost for stakeholders of not getting timely access to public services.

Implications of Social Audit

  • Social auditing creates an impact upon governance. It values the voice of stakeholders, including marginalized/poor groups whose voices are rarely heard.
  • Social auditing is taken up for the purpose of enhancing local governance, particularly for strengthening accountability and transparency in local bodies.
  • Social Audit makes it sure that in democracy, the powers of decision makers should be used as far as possible with the consent and understanding of all concerned.
  • Trains the community on participatory local planning.
  • Encourages local democracy.
  • Encourages community participation.
  • Benefits disadvantaged groups.
  • Promotes collective decision making and sharing responsibilities.
  • Develops human resources and social capital
  • Business:-
    • Provides valuable information to pressure groups and consumers about the corporate responsibility of a business
    • It allows the manager of a business to gain a complete picture of the impact of the business’s activities
    • This can allow the business to make better informed decisions about the impact of its activities upon stakeholders.