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Social Audit is a tool through which government departments can plan, manage and measure non-financial activities and monitor both internal and external consequences of the departments’ social and commercial operations. Social Audit gives an understanding of the administrative system from the perspective of the vast majority of people in the society for whom the very institutional/administrative system is being promoted and legitimised. Social Audit of administration means understanding the administrative system and its internal dynamics from the angle of what they mean for the vast majority of the people, who are not essentially a part of the State or its machinery or the ruling class of the day, for whom they are meant to work.
Social Audit is an independent evaluation of the performance of an organisation as it relates to the attainment of its social goals. It is an instrument of social accountability of an organisation.
Objectives of Social Audit:
1. Accurate identification of requirements
2. Prioritization of developmental activities as per requirements
3. Proper utilization of funds
4. Conformity of the developmental activity with the stated goals
5. Quality of service
A social audit will generally examine the organisation’s policies and practices in the following key areas:
• Ethics – what the organisation’s policies are, whether or not they are being upheld or undermined by the enterprise’s day-to-day activities.
• Staffing – how the enterprise rewards, trains and develops its staff, as well as the way in which the enterprise ensures that it is non-discriminatory, fair and equitable to everyone working there.
• Environment – the enterprise’s policies relating to caring for the environment, waste management and disposal, and damage reduction, and whether or not the enterprise is adhering to these policies.
• Human rights – how it ensures that it does not violate human rights, or deal, trade with or support any organisation that violates human rights.
• Community – the organisation’s policies relating to the local community, and community involvement; these policies might, for example, cover community partnerships or community projects, and checks will be made during the social audit to ensure that agreements are being upheld.
• Society – the organisation’s policies relating to society as a whole, and the way in which the enterprise seeks to improve or benefit society.
• Compliance – how the organisation complies with statutory and legal requirements, such as health and safety, employment law, environmental law, criminal law and, of course, financial and tax laws.