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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

Average over
last 10 years

journeys by public transport, bicycle or foot

94%

88%

70%

turnover invested in continuing development of
skills & knowledge

3%

4%

5%

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

33%

33%

42%

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

19%

29%

29%

feedback on all training delivered

98%

100%

99%

feedback on all training courses developed

95%

100%

98%

impact of training on knowledge and confident of
participants

+57.8%

+32.1%

+50.8%

value of pro bono support given*

£8,177

£8,611

£7,633

Tax paid as a percentage of turnover**

23.9%

-

-

(within 10mile radius of registered place of business)

(from co-ops, social enterprises and charities)
(rating: excellent- very good)
(rating: excellent- very good)

* 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
t: 07786 492313

e: adrian_ashton2@yahoo.co.uk

twitter: @AdrianAshton2