Social audit can be defined as a mechanism that is taken into use for the purpose of understanding, measuring, reporting and enhancing the overall ethical performance of an organization. It is an important tool, where multi -stakeholder approach to measure, understand, evaluate and report certain activities and programs so as to enhance the social, ethical values and performances. It also helps to reduce the gap between vision and reality.
Advantages of social audit
- Social Audit offers a slew of advantages to the common public, weaker section of the society.
- Social Audits increase the people’s participation and enhance the democratic values.
- Social Audit takes care of all the stakeholders and also promotes collective decision making.
However, In India this concept faces certain challenges such as:
- The lack of administrative and political will in institutionalizing social audit.
- Due to the lack of education, awareness and capacity building among the common masses, there is less people participation.
- During Social audit, people continue to face resistance and find it difficult to even access various records for verification.
- No legal procedure and standards for social audit.
- There is an absence of an independent agency to investigate and act on social audit findings.
Following initiative must be taken by the government to strengthen social audit, so that it becomes an effective & efficient instrument in democracy.
- To organize campaigns for strengthening social audits to increase public awareness and make real progress in holding the political executive and implementing agencies accountable.
- Team of social audit experts should be established in each district who are responsible for training social audit committee members (stakeholders).
- At Local Level, training programmes should be created on social auditing methods such as conducting, preparing and presentation of social audit reports.
- Set up legal provision, institutionalized framework and standards to conduct social audit.
- Set up an independent agency to investigate and act on social audit findings.
The concept of social audit is intended as a means for people participation, transparency and communication of information, accountability of decision-makers, representatives, managers etc. That’s why it is necessary for government to taken following initiative to strengthen this concept