Process to be Followed To deal with all these opposition forces, the first thing is that the social audit should be taken as an inbuilt process prior to execution of the programme and throughout implementation phase. It should never be taken as post mortem. It is a preventive process to check corruption and not to be used to detect corruption at the end. Hence it is necessary that both implementer and people should be mentally prepared to go through social audit process from the very outset. There is a greater need for all of us to understand the process of social audit, its benefits, methods and outcomes. As a result there will be no more ‘police and thief game in any work at the end.
To understand social audit, let us take an example of any small work to go through this process. Both implementer and beneficiaries have to be mentally prepared to adopt social audit process. This will subsequently not create any havoc in anybody’s mind at any point of time from beginning to end. This understanding and mental preparedness is the first step of social audit. It is important to build up people’s confidence to plan and participate in the process during this phase.
The second question is that who will do this social audit. There are two ways of maintaining transparency and access of information by the people. One is suo moto declaration by the implementer and the other is an act of providing information to the people on demand. Our conventional way of sou moto declaration is limited to broad head of budgets, plans or at best the name of beneficiaries. This never gives detail of any information that people require to assess. Hence it is the people to decide what information they need, duration and content of information.
A social audit committee needs to be formed taking a specific number of persons from the specific area, may be from a village if audit is at village level or Gram Panchayat and so on. The composition of this committee is very important. There must be members of most vulnerable groups, women, and people with disabilities and other neglected communities in this committee. This committee will take up social audit process in that specific area and for that specific programme/activity.
Q.1O. Discuss the role of social audit committee in the process.
Ans. The committee will only play the role of facilitator and do compilation work. It will not take any decision or influence any views of the people.
It is expected to play the following roles:
(1) Environment building on social audit.
(2) Collect and prepare list of information people need from time to time (anything any person may demand).
(3) Facilitate to collect information from concerned department, office or agency using RTI Act.
(4) Facilitate transparency in programme implementation (display of as much information as possible, keep the records for public inspection at any point of time and collect feedback from the people).
(5) Transcribe the information into people’s language (many times it is difficult for the people to understand government language or technical words).
(6) Sorting and analysis of information.
(7) Sharing the findings with respective person and collect his/her opinion, feedbacks and reactions. This may be done collectively in small groups or with individual if the person wants.
(8) Compilation of all findings (this may be done work-wise, head-wise or group-wise as decided by the people).
(9) Presentation of findings (a particular day may be decided to present the findings before all including implementing agency, administration, people’s representatives and other stakeholders. This is called social audit day).
(10) Record their views and suggestions and help implementer to rectif’ or change the process wherever required and sort out if there is any discrepancies in the work as per the suggestions given.
Public Documents for Social Audit: These are:
(1) Copy of case records including work order, budget allocation, sanction letter, muster roll, MB book, bills and vouchers, number estimate etc.
(2) Copy of circulars, orders, list of beneficiaries, detail of schemes, provisions and person wise allotment.
(3) Copy of registers and records maintained, copy of minutes of meetings held.
(4) Papers in support of any decisions taken and selection made.
(5) Copy of detail of process of work to be followed.
Q.11. What do you understand by frequency of organising social audit?
Ans. Frequency of Organising Social Audit: Social audit should be organised as a regular process and not as a one-time event. It can be organised at any specific interval depending upon people’s preparedness and willingness. It may be after each activity or monthly or bimonthly or even once or twice in a year depending on the need.
Principle of Social Audit: There are five underpinning principles to social audit:
(1) It should reflect the opinions of a wide variety of people affected by the programme (multi-perspective).
(2) It should cover all the activities of the community (comprehensive).
(3) The programme/activity should be able to compare performance over time and between similar organisations (comparative).
(4) It should happen each year and not just as a one-off exercise (regular).
(5) The findings of the social audit should be widely circulated (disclosure).
Scope of Social Audit: The scope of social audit is very wide and not limited to a particular scheme or activity or an area. It can be taken up at village level, Gram Panchayat level or even block or district level depending on the nature of work and programme. Similarl,y it can be organized on a single activity or collectively taking more than one activities ogether applicable in that specific area.