'Outcomes based accountability (OBA)'

Our OBA approach provides a framework for organisations/stakeholders working collaboratively to ensure that they are planning effectively and to understand the nature and scope of the differences they are helping to make to the lives of their service users. OBA throws up 7 key monitoring questions that organisations should routinely ask themselves:

1. Who are our users?
2. How can we measure if our users are better off?
3. How can we measure if we are delivering services well?
4. How are we doing on the most important of these measures?
5. Who are the partners that have a role to play in doing better?
6. What works to do better, including no-cost and low-cost ideas?
7. What do we propose to do? OBA is a way of securing strategic and cultural change, by continuing the move away from a focus on ‘efficiency’ and ‘process’ as the arbiters of value, and towards making better outcomes the primary objective.
The social accounting framework provides monitoring and evaluation guidance that links the systematic reporting of organisational activities to the issue of social impact and to the ethical practices of an organisation. A number of evaluation processes can be incorporated into the social accounting process. However, social accounts can only be released after a social audit panel reviews the report/social accounts.

What we can do
The Social Audit Network (SAN) is a not-for-profit organisation which facilitates the exchange of information and experience between practitioners of social accounting and audit in the social economy and voluntary sectors. Social accounting and audit will help you understand the impact your organisation has on people, the planet and the way you use resources. It will also help you manage your organisation and improve your effectiveness. We will walk you through the Social Accounting and Audit processes and align with the 8 key social audit principles:

1. Clarify Purpose
2. Define Scope
3. Engage Stakeholders
4. Determine Materiality
5. Make Comparisons (benchmarking)
6. Be Transparent
7. Verify Accounts
8. Embed the process

Using these principles will enable your organisation to maintain effective social accounts that can be verified and ‘signed off’ as well as providing a platform for continuous improvement.

'Social Return On Investment (SROI)'

SROI is a well established framework based on social generally accepted accounting principles (SGAAP) that can help you to manage and understand the social, economic and environmental outcomes created by your activity or organisation.

The SROI framework is an essential tool for communicating the social value your work creates in a clear and consistent way with customers, and beneficiaries. It can help you manage risks, identify opportunities and access finance. SROI works equally well for private or social enterprise, and helps to deliver service improvements through information flow in consistent and clear language.

Currently there is a lot of interest in the approach from funders and nonprofits and from both public and private sectors. It is a type of cost-benefit analysis, which is playing an increasingly important role as nonprofits are required to carry out more hard-headed analysis of the value and social impact of their work. SROI is an outcomes approach that puts monetary value on social and environmental benefits relative to a given amount of investment; for example, an organisation might return a ratio of £4 of social value created for every £1 spent on its activities.

What we can do
We support organisations throughout the entire process of analysing social impact, helping to our clients to embed social impact measurement models in their organisation and to ‘analyse and value’ social impact investments (donations, charity, subsidies, loans, grants, etc.) and, crucially, what the organisation’s stakeholders consider valuable.

Seven SROI Principles

  1. Involving stakeholders
  2. Understanding what changes
  3. Valuing the things that matter
  4. Only including what is material
  5. Not over-clwaiming
  6. Being transparent
  7. Verify results

Theory of Change & Impact Road Map

Theory of change is a rigorous participatory planning process that empowers stakeholders to articulate their long-term goals and identify the conditions they believe must unfold for those goals to be met. These conditions are modelled as outcomes, arranged graphically in a causal framework (see chart on the left).

What we can do
We can help you define your Theory of Change, opening insights into ‘how’ your activities lead to the sorts of measurable outcomes that create value. We can draft a comprehensive Impact Road Map and conduct stakeholder analysis using key metrics to define those people and entities that influence and are influenced by your activities. We bring extensive experience in conducting robust research and analyses, whilst equipping you with the right tools to navigate the complexity.