What is a social audit?
A social audit is a way of measuring, understanding, reporting and ultimately improving an organization’s social and ethical performance. A social audit helps to narrow gaps between vision/goal and reality, between efficiency and effectiveness. It is a technique to understand, measure, verify, report on and to improve the social performance of the organization.
Social auditing creates an impact upon governance. It values the voice of stakeholders, including marginalized/poor groups whose voices are rarely heard. Social auditing is taken up for the purpose of enhancing local governance, particularly for strengthening accountability and transparency in local bodies.
Objectives of social audit
Advantages of social audit
Figure: Transparency flow due to Social Audit
Social Audit vs. Financial Audit
Social Audit is often misinterpreted as another form of audit to determine the accuracy of financial or statistical statement or reports and the fairness of the facts they present.
A conventional financial audit focuses on financial records and their scrutiny by an external auditor following accounting principles whereas the Social Audit is much more holistic having a greater scope for measuring, understanding and improving the social performance of an activity of an organisation.
Social Audit in India
Few example of legislative support
· Right to information Act, 2005: This is also a key pillar of support for Social Audit system in India.