Applying the Tool : The six steps of social auditing are as follows:
(1) Preparatory activities.
(2) Defining audit boundaries and identifring stakeholders.
(3) Social accounting and book keeping.
(4) Preparing and using social accounts.
(5) Social auditing and dissemination.
(6) Feedback and institutionalization of social audit.
The first two steps are critical when a department decides to incorporate social accounting, social bookkeeping and social auditing. The department needs to look at its vision, goals, current practices and activities to identify those that are friendly to social auditing purposes. Small work groups (say, seven persons) are to be formed which would spend about two days each to list down the social vision, core values, social objectives and map all the stakeholders and their involvement. Ensure involvement of various functionaries with due representation to gender, while forming small groups. The small groups should have access to project documents, process documentation, department guidelines and policy notes.
The next activity would be to assign the task of matching the activities with the social objectives and identifying gaps. This again could be carried out by a small group drawn from the managerial cadre and execution/implementation groups at the field level. All this information would be then looked into; to develop a plan for social auditing, including who would be responsible in the department, monitoring and identifying the resources required. This responsibility again could be given to a small group of three individuals.
Stakeholder consultation, involving department functionaries and civil society, would be the forum for sharing the social audit plan. This consultation would clarify the issues important for social auditing, role of stakeholders, as well as commitments from them. The outcome of the consultation would be fed into the process of detailing out, the indicators to be monitored; which existing records are to be used; and how additional information would be collected. The next key step is to fix responsibilities for various activities. The activities include preparing formats for social account-keeping, compilation of data and reporting the same on a monthly basis (internal use). Managers of the department/programmes can use this information for monitoring as well as providing feedback for improving performance and overcoming bottlenecks.
Ideally, social audit should be conducted regularly, and the method should be developed through a participatory relationship between the auditor and the organisations/departments. The following figure depicts the detailed steps followed in the social audit cycle.
In addition to using the Tool Kit exercises in the correct sequence, it is vital that the process should be participative and inclusive. The cycle starts with ‘deciding to do a Social Audit’ and at the end of each year planned targets and actual achievements are to be compared.
Q.7. What are the opportunities and challenges moving forward in relation to CSR? Do corporations have social responsibilities?
Ans. The opportunities and challenges moving forward in relation to CSR as as follows:
The U.S. government has made some progress in facilitating public-private partnerships through staff training, adjustments in procurement regulation and revisions to internal incentive structures to build partnerships. Significant obstacles remain, however. The U.S. government continues to struggle with the challenges of organizing multi-stakeholder arrangements. For one, the government faces the problem of taking these partnerships to scale. Where pilot and demonstration programs have succeeded, these partnerships need to go beyond seed funding and pilot projects to make a real and lasting impact. The narrow impact of these programs reflects the limited resources the U.S. government has allocated to pursue these partnerships as well as a failure of imagination on the part of the U.S. government practitioners. There is a need for thought leaders within the U.S. government to push this agenda forward. Second, the U.S. government continues to struggle with the transaction
costs from the increased frequency of these partnerships. Such partnerships incur costs to both the private sector and the U.S. government. The challenge is to make sure that the return on the investment—in terms of not only promoting economic growth but also providing business value to the private-sector actors—outweighs the costs. Third, there is a need for continuous reforms in the incentive structures within the U.S. government. Barriers to partnerships—bureaucratic and legal—remain. Fourth, there is a need for continued staff training for both public-sector and private-sector employees to provide the relevant groups with the skills to initiate and manage these alliances while at the same time instilling a culture within that encourages public-private corporation. Fifth and final, there is still a need to find appropriate institutional and governance structures to administer these partnerships. Private-sector actors are becoming increasingly hands-on, going far beyond donors and the management structures should reflect this shift.
have Social Responsibilities: Businesses are accustomed to being criticized for
neglecting their responsibilities to society. Complaints that private
enterprise puts profit before people have long provided reliable applause lines
for politicians and assorted activists and material for the briefs of crusading
public-interest attorneys. But in the past few years, the concept of corporate
social responsibility—increasingly part of the curriculum in America’s schools
of business and management—has established itself as a political and social
force to be reckoned with. This can
be seen in recent proposals in Congress and elsewhere to offer tax breaks or regulate differently firms that shoulder their “social responsibilities.”
Another sign of the increasing prominence of the idea was the formation of business for Social Responsibility (BSR) in Washington, D.C., in 1992. The 54 founding members of BSR—including Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc., The Body Shop, Stride Rite Corp and Working Assets—were well known as advocates of environmentalism and economic “fairness.” The organisation said it intended, through lobbying and public relations, to make “social equity,” “environmental responsibility” and “developing a sustainable economy” integral to corporate decision-making. BSR now has more than 800 members and affiliates, including AT&T, Federal Express, Hallmark and Time Warner.