is a way of measuring the extent to which an organisation lives up to the shared values and objectives it has committed itself to. It provides an assessment of the impact of organisations non-financial objectives through systematic and regular monitoring, based on the views of its stakeholders.
Q.8. What is social auditing? What are its salient features?
Or What is social audit? How is it done and why? (2011)
Or Explain the importance of social audit in present era. (2013)
Ans. Meaning of Social Auditing: Social auditing is a process that enables an organisation to assess and demonstrate its social, economic, and environmental benefits and limitations. It is a way of measuring the extent to which an organisation lives up to the shared values and objectives it has committed itself to.
Social auditing provides an assessment ofthe impact of an organisation’s non-financial objectives through systematically and regularly monitoring its performance and the views of its stakeholders.
Social auditing requires the involvement of stakeholders. This may include employees, clients, volunteers, financers, contractors, suppliers and local residents interested in the organisation. Stakeholders are defined as those persons or organisations who have an interest in, or who have invested resources in, the organisatioh.
Salient Features of Social Auditing: The foremost principle of social auditing is to achieve continuously improved performances in relation to the chosen social objectives. Eight specific key principles have been identified from social auditing practices around the world. They are:
(1) Multi-Perspective/Polygonal Aims to reflect the views (voices) of all those people (stakeholders) involved with or affected by the organisation/department/programme
(2) Comprehensive : Aims to (eventually) report on all aspects of the organisation’s work and performance.
(3) Participatory: Encourages participation of stakeholders and sharing of their values.
(4) Multidirectional.: Stakeholders share and give feedback on multiple aspects.
(5) Regular Aims to produce social accounts on a regular basis so that the concept and practice become embedded in the culture of the organisation covering all the activities.
(6) Comparative : Provides a means, whereby, the organisation can compare its own performance each year against appropriate external norms or benchmarks; and provide for comparisons with organisations doing similar work and reporting in similar fashion.
(7) Verification: Ensures that the social accounts are audited by a suitably experienced person or agency with no vested interest in the organisation.
(8) Disclosure: Ensures that the audited accounts are disclosed to stakeholders and the wider community in the interests of accountability and transparency.
Q.9. What are the objectives of social audit? Also discuss its process.
Ans. Objectives of Social Audit: The objectives of social audit are as follows:
(1) The objective of social audit is to empower people to question the system, process and authority in order to assert their rights.
(2) To bring transparency and check corruption through democratic processes. Transparency here is not merely display of information on a board mentioning total estimated budget and total expenditure or broad framework of the programme.
(3) It is about providing detail of headwise budget and expenditure with copy of bills and vouchers in case of finance and copy of other relevant records to help people understand detail of the process adopted including all decisions taken and selections made.
(4) Social audit is to help an implementing agency to know and identify its critical areas of improvements and how best the programme can be implemented through people’s participation.
(5) It is a way towards successful implementation of programme for the people and by the implementer.
(6) Taking into account the views of most vulnerable people in the society including single-woman headed family, people with disability, uncared aged and poorest of the poor is another important objective of social audit.
Process: It is a general understanding of the people that social audit process will be done at the end of each activity to evaluate its pros and cons. Even many of our schemes and acts write it in that way. Many of our government orders also prescribe social audit to be done at the end of the programme/activity. This is the reason why the people are not able to practicse social audit process despite debate, discourse and orders. Because doing an evaluation at the end of any programme/actjljjty without following the right process during the implementation means making a post mortem and identifying the culprit and corruption made followed by punishment. As a result there are a lot of backlash and opposition from the vested interests. The truth is, our people are not prepared to face and handle this backlash. In one such social audit process, the secretary of a particular panchayat committed suicide in fear of being exposed and the entire process and effort stopped there. In many places corrupt people totally oppose the entire process at the end of the programme and create disturbances. All PRI members including Panchayat Secretaries in a particular block came together to oppose the entire social audit process and demanded infront of local administration not to go for this.