How we work

We want to be a valuable support partner

What is it about?
Organisations are often told to be Corporately Socially Responsible. The Social Impact Group helps organisations to best deliver and measure the outcomes of that responsibility. For the Chairman, CEO, Operations Director it gives them a dashboard of all aspects of the social impacts of their organisation.

What is the social impact process?
Our process enables an organisation to assess and demonstrate its social, economic, community, and environmental benefits and limitations, both tangible and intangible. It is a way of measuring the extent to which your organisation is achieving its social goals and provides a roadmap for it to move forward to achieve your desired values and objectives.

Simply it provides an assessment of the impact of an organisation’s non-financial objectives.

What does it involve?
The social auditing process requires an intermittent but clear time commitment from an independent partner.. This individual or team liaises with others both in and outside the organisation and designs, co-ordinates, analyses and documents the information collected during the process.

Information is collected through research methods that include social bookkeeping, interviews, surveys and case studies. The objectives of the organisation are the starting point from which indicators of impact are determined, stakeholders identified and research tools designed in detail. By its nature it involves all organisational stakeholders.

Why Independent Full Impact Assessments:
Often some sort of impact assessment is undertaken by organisations on themselves or their projects, but often in isolation with the emphasis being on primary stakeholders views.

These assessments are usually undertaken at the beginning of a review, project or change programme. They are often never re-visited. They are at best viewed as a means of judging performance by understanding changes (intended or otherwise) experienced by primary stakeholders as a result of development interventions. However, used fully they can help distinguish whether a project intervention is in fact achieving its objectives, whether or not these objectives remain relevant over time, and whether or not the best action strategies are or have been pursued (adapted from Estrella and Gaventa, 1997).

During the 1980s, impact assessment were most frequently undertaken as part of broader participatory evaluation approaches. In general terms these assessed change and its significance in relation to effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, impact and sustainability. It was argued that any single evaluation may not be able to examine each of these factors comprehensively, but that each should be taken into consideration (Feuerstein, 1986; Guba and Lincoln, 1989). This integration of factors (including, but not exclusively impact) has been eroded during the 1990s by the trend to develop ever increasing numbers of participatory forms of enquiry. This has partially been in response to organisations finding it too difficult and time consuming to undertake full participatory monitoring and evaluation processes, leading to focus often exclusively on the primary stakeholders views when determining impact.

Currently, several overviews suggest that participation varies during the project cycle, with less involvement of all stakeholders at early stages (design and planning) and later stages (analysis and dissemination).

A full impact assessment process enables all stakeholders to be listened to, offers organisations a full tool kit to steer their organisation, its projects and programmes in a positive and contributing manner.

Your Organisation:
In terms of non-financial objectives, effective and efficient organisations have a clear vision of where they are going and of how they are going to get there. The process helps organisations achieve that clarity of purpose and efficiency of procedure. For some, it helps clarify
· what they are trying to do as an organisation or with a particular project (objectives) – both internally and externally
· what risks they have (impact risk)
· how they are going to improve or manage social impact (management action plans)
· how they will measure and record the extent to which they are doing it (indicators)

In Brief:
The process enables an organisation or project to assess and demonstrate its social, economic, community and environmental benefits and limitations. It shows the organisation is prepared to have this process done independently and that it is a ‘lasting’ process, not a one off. It considers ‘systems’ which survive in the long term only through being alive to feedback concerning both their internal (subsystem) and external (supersystem) environments. When well embedded into an organisation, it can provide an overview about how well an organisation has addressed its objectives and core values, as well as its effectiveness, efficiency and equity. Thus, it is more than an assessment of the mechanics of an organisation. It sets the scene for what has been expressed as the assumptions, norms, values and theory of business which can be powerful filters affecting what each person sees (Drucker, 1994).

“Incorporating social and environmental factors into decisions may seem exotic to some today, but there is no doubt it will be core to tomorrow’s successful strategies and practices”. Al Gore