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Social Impact Report

2015/16
As a provider of enterprise support to social, charitable, public, and other
types of organisations, I offer a range of services and activities to a wide
variety of clients - organisations, government bodies, individual
enterprises, residents in local communities, and thematic communities
experiencing disadvantage.
However, underpinning all these different services and support are a set
of core values – values which I am keen to be open and transparent about
how well I am ‘living up to them’ across all of my professional activities.
Having been involved in supporting groups and sector bodies to
understand, identify, and report on their social impact since the last 1990s
through national programmes, individual consultancy, and the
development of sector-specific toolkits, I chose to commit myself to doing
the same. In 2005 I therefore started to create a reporting framework for
freelance consultants like myself, having not been able to identify any
existing standards that are suitable for sole traders, or that would allow
me to consistently report against my performance overall – not just in
respect of a specific activity or service (as most of the existing
frameworks and standards are concerned with doing).
Each year I review this framework openly through inviting peer review,
which has led to its expansion with each reporting cycle. It continues to be
structured to allow me to easily benchmark myself against other
organisations, as without this ability it would have has limited value in not
understanding how representative its findings are against wider ‘market
norms’.
Based on feedback against last year’s report, I’ve also started to include
quotes and mini case studies from clients to help illustrate the ways in
which I’ve had an impact on them and their organisations. This is to
supplement the scoring of their reported gains in knowledge and
confidence around subject areas I’ve supported clients with.
And for the first time, I’ve also decided to include an indication of the tax I
pay on my turnover – I felt this was important not only because I’m the
only freelance consultant who’s signed up to the FairTax Mark (that I’m
aware of), but also because I feel its important as there are lots of good
reasons why we as businesses of all types should pay tax, rather than try

and avoid it. I’m therefore always seeking ways to create opportunities for
conversations around this.
Finally, I’ve still not been able to identify any other freelance consultants
anywhere in the world who openly report on their performance in this way,
although I continue to attract global interest and acclaim for my approach
in doing so.

‘Values in Action':
As someone who believes in the value of social impact reporting and strives to
be transparent in how I conduct my professional work, I have committed
myself to monitoring and reporting openly on my impact and the extent to
which I have been able to generate benefits in relation to my values:
2015/
6

2014/
5

journeys by public transport, bicycle or
foot

94%

88%

turnover
invested
in
continuing
development of skills & knowledge

3%

4%

proportion of supply chain purchases
made within the 'local economy' ***

33%

33%

proportion of supply chain purchases
made within the ‘social economy’ ***

19%

29%

feedback on all training delivered

98%

100%

95%

100%

impact of training on knowledge and
confident of participants

+57.8
%

+32.1
%

value of pro bono support given*

£8,17
7

£8,61
1

23.9%

-

Average o

(within 10mile radius of registered place of
business)

(from co-ops, social enterprises and charities)

(rating: excellent- very good)

feedback
developed

on

all

training

courses

(rating: excellent- very good)

Tax paid as a percentage of turnover**

* calculated from national day rate benchmark calculated by Skilllfair.co.uk
**This is the total of income tax and NI contributions and non-recoverable VAT on
procurement against my total turnover during the year
***During winter of 2015 I was displaced from my home by flooding so
incurred exceptional additional costs with regard to non-local accommodation
and purchases of equipment, etc

Impact on support for social enterprises and charities:
“as a local infrastructure body we're now going to reconsider the advice
we offer to local groups”
-

Sector support agency who attended a workshop I delivered on
social enterprise governance, legal forms, and operations

Financial impact on enterprises through their becoming better able to
better manage their finances:
“I've never had someone explain a balance sheet so simply before”
One client with a national client base saw their internal finance committee
increase in number 3 fold after my session - managers and board
members reported becoming more confident in their skills to do so after
my training session on understanding accounts

Governance impact through strengthening ability of Boards to manage
their enterprises:
After working with a Board to review their performance and management
systems, I identified that most Directors were struggling to engage with
financial information being reported to them – this enterprises’ Board now
receives financial reports in pictoral form and as a result all now fully
engage in setting and reviewing budgets.

Reflections and narratives on previous years’ reports can be found posted
on my blog at: http://thirdsectorexpert.blogspot.co.uk

w: http://www.adrianashton.co.uk
adrian_ashton2@yahoo.co.uk

e: