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
- 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.