ICSI SAS – 15 Social Audit Standard on bridging the digital divide in internet and mobile phone access, addressing issues of misinformation and data protection

Applicability and Scope

This Social Audit Standard (‘the Standard’) is applicable to the Social Auditor as defined under sub-Regulation (f) of Regulation 292A of Securities and Exchange Board of India (Issue of Capital and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2018 conducting the Social Audit of the Social Enterprise as defined under sub-Regulation (h) of Regulation 292A of Securities and Exchange Board of India (Issue of Capital and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2018. This Standard deals with procedures, responsibilities and duties of the Auditor with respect to the Social Audit being conducted by him/ her of the Social Enterprises engaged in the activities prescribed under sub-regulation 2(a)(xv) of Regulation 292E of Securities and Exchange Board of India (Issue of Capital and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2018.

Objective

ICSI Social Audit Standard – 15 (ICSI SAS-15) aims to aid the Social Auditors with necessary instructions or guidelines for the effective Social Audit of Social Enterprises engaged in the field of “bridging the digital divide in internet and mobile phone access, addressing issues of misinformation and data protection”. Social Auditors shall follow the minimum criteria as specified in this proposed Social Audit standard issued by the ICSI.

Effective Date

This Social Audit Standard will be in force with effect from –/–/20–.

Social Audit Process and Documentation

Social Auditors shall conduct the Social Audit in accordance with the procedures/ mandates established and notified by the ICSI from time to time. Social Auditors shall perform their functions that provide sufficient and adequate evidence to support Social Audit. Social Auditors can acquire evidence for the effectiveness of Social Audit through inspection, observation, inquiry, consultation, interview, questionnaire, analytical procedures and/or other research techniques or any other acceptable methods as he/she deems fit. The procedures to be followed are as under:

I. Define Social Audit objectives and planning Social Audit;

II. Intimation to the Management of the Social Enterprise about the Audit Plan;

III. Identification of Stakeholders and consultation;

IV. Visit to/inspection of the area where project/activity was implemented;

V. Collection of data, Analysis and assessment;

VI. Reporting.

I. Define Social Audit objectives and planning Social Audit

The Social Auditor shall define the object and scope of the Social Audit prior to conducting Social Audit. It is always better to have a proper plan prior to Social Audit and it includes nature, timing and extent of the procedures and standards to be followed while conducting Social Audit. The Social Auditor should also analyse the report, recommendations of the previous Social Audit, if any, and review the corrective actions taken by the Social Enterprise with respect to the recommendations suggested in the previous Social Audit Report. This is the first stage of Social Audit process.

II. Intimation to the Management of the Social Enterprise about the Audit Plan

It is expected that the Social Auditor should intimate the audit plan to the Management of the Social Enterprise so that they can have the necessary documents and materials ready and available for the Auditor.

III. Identification of Stakeholders and Consultation

The key stakeholders who can be involved in the Social Audit process include project beneficiaries, their families, trainers imparting training, funding agencies, officials of the local bodies, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), media, etc. The consultation must be done with the stakeholders to extract accurate and needed information.

IV. Visit to / inspection of the area where project / activity was implemented

The Social Auditor must make it a point to visit / inspect the location and this will also give him / her better opportunities both for collection of data and consultation with the stakeholders.

V. Collection of data, analysis and assessment

This activity involves identifying key issues that need to be cross checked in the Social Audit as well as how information and data pertaining to the activity undertaken by the Social Enterprise will be collected. Moreover, in Social Audit process, two types of data are crucial. Primary data collected from stakeholders and community members, followed by Secondary data collected from various other sources. Gathering secondary information is very important in the process of Social Audit. Secondary data are inevitable for making Social Audit Reports. Information required for preparing Social Audit Reports may not be available in single point but may be in different records in different forms.

Social Auditor shall collect the relevant information through any of the following methods:

  • Documents and records
  • Enrolment data for training programmes
  • Contracts / Agreements entered
  • Progress Report
  • Various related govt schemes
  • Questionnaires and surveys
  • Interviews
  • Observations
  • Published data from authorized sources

Evaluation should be based on certain criteria and suggestive list of such criteria is provided hereinafter. However, the list is inclusive and not exhaustive and the Social

Auditor must exercise his own discretion and judgement on case to case basis. Also, the feedback from stakeholders should be considered while preparing the Social Audit

Sl.
No.
Particulars
 A. Bridging the digital divide in internet and mobile phone access, addressing issues of misinformation and data protection
1 Number of Workshops/ Awareness Programs/ Seminars/ Training Sessions conducted by the Social Enterprise for bridging digital divide.
2 Number of street plays, visual presentations, one-on-one interactions etc. held by the Social Enterprise to educate the target population about digital literacy.
3 Steps taken by the Social Enterprise to organise seminars/ workshops etc. in native language of the targeted population so that people feel more connected to content when they read it in their local language.
4 Steps taken by the Social Enterprise to pay attention to specific technologies to make digital learning accessible for physically challenged people like screen readers, magnifying devices, augmentative reality, virtual reality, etc.
5 Steps taken by the Social Enterprise to collaborate with the government authorities to help schools, learners, and teachers access digital technologies which will reduce the cost of the internet and strengthen the technological infrastructure.
6 Number of targeted population intended to be covered by the Social Enterprise and population actually covered and reason(s) for deviations, if any.
7 Initiatives taken by the Social Enterprise to develop high-tech classrooms to help targeted population access informational resources.
8 Initiatives taken by the Social Enterprise to ensure women inclusion in the digital literacy.
9 Details of source of funds for undertaking the activities under the head of bridging the digital divide, addressing issues of misinformation and data protection and programme wise fund utilisation details.
10 Investments made by the Social Enterprise in tools to identify fake news, reduce financial incentives for those who profit from misinformation, and improve online accountability.
11 Initiatives taken by the Social Enterprise to create awareness about data protection and introducing the target population about its gravity.
12 Data Management Policy formulated by Social Enterprise which provides for data protection and remedial actions in the event of its failure.
13 Initiatives taken by the Social Enterprise to educate target population that their personal data cannot be accessed by anyone without prior consent except in the situation of emergency.
14 Initiatives taken by the Social Enterprise to reduce inequalities with regard to access to, use of, impact of information and communication technologies between individuals, households, business or geographic areas, usually at different socio economic levels or other demographic categories.
15 Initiatives taken by Social Enterprise to build stronger infrastructure to provide uninterrupted internet connectivity.
16 Initiatives taken by Social Enterprise to reduce the instances of data breach and ensure consent and rule-based data collection.

VI. Reporting

The Social Audit Report shall include information about the objective set out at the beginning of the Social Audit, methodologies adopted, observations, findings and recommendations if any. The Social Auditor shall also identify the challenges faced in implementation of the projects / activities and suggest areas for improvement based on observation, interview and feedback received from stakeholders. The Social Auditor shall also list out the limitations of the audit process which might include inability to identify all stakeholders, non-availability of proper response from stakeholders, and so on and point out the extent to which such limitations impact the Audit Report. The Report of Social Audit shall be as per the format notified by the ICSI from time to time.

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To Read Related post Social Audit Standard

Sl.
No.
Draft Social Audit Standards
1 Draft Social Audit Standard on eradicating hunger, poverty, malnutrition and inequality (ICSI SAS-01)
2 Draft Social Audit Standard on promoting health care including mental healthcare, sanitation and making available safe drinking water (ICSI SAS-02)
3 Draft Social Audit Standard on promoting education, employability and livelihoods (ICSI SAS-03)
4 Draft Social Audit Standard on promoting gender equality, empowerment of women and LGBTQIA+ communities (ICSI SAS-04)
5 Draft Social Audit Standard on ensuring environmental sustainability, addressing climate change including mitigation and adaptation, forest and wildlife conservation (ICSI SAS-05)
6 Draft Social Audit Standard on protection of national heritage, art and culture (ICSI SAS-06)
7 Draft Social Audit Standard on training to promote rural sports, nationally recognised sports, Paralympic sports and Olympic sports (ICSI SAS-07)
8 Draft Social Audit Standard on supporting incubators of Social Enterprises (ICSI SAS-08)
9 Draft Social Audit Standard on supporting other platforms that strengthen the non-profit ecosystem in fundraising and capacity building (ICSI SAS-09)
10 Draft Social Audit Standard on promoting livelihoods for rural and urban poor including enhancing income of small and marginal farmers and workers in the non-farm sector (ICSI SAS-10)
11 Draft Social Audit Standard on slum area development, affordable housing and other interventions to build sustainable and resilient cities (ICSI SAS-11)
12 Draft Social Audit Standard on disaster management, including relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction activities (ICSI SAS-12)
13 Draft Social Audit Standard on promotion of financial inclusion (ICSI SAS- 13)
14 Draft Social Audit Standard on facilitating access to land and property assets for disadvantaged communities (ICSI SAS-14)
15 Draft Social Audit Standard on bridging the digital divide in internet and mobile phone access, addressing issues of misinformation and data protection (ICSI SAS-15)
16 Draft Social Audit Standard on promoting welfare of migrants and displaced persons (ICSI SAS-16)

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