| Primary purpose
Who can use the tool?
What resources are needed?
Development, ownership and support
Third sector examples
Further sources of information
Social IMPact measurement for Local Economies (SIMPLE)
The SIMPLE 1 approach to social impact assessment is a framework (rather than a tool) developed by Social Enterprise London (SEL) in conjunction with University of Brighton. It combines internal strategic review with outcomes based assessment to help managers of socially motivated businesses to visualise where and how they make positive contributions to society. Following a two-day training, users will be equipped to select appropriate measures with which to collect quantifiable data and have received guidance on how to use that data to put their efforts into the broader context. By using a framework such as SIMPLE it is possible to identify what evidence of change needs to be collected in order to illustrate the social benefits the work of the organisation creates.
Rather than a tool, SIMPLE is a framework representing a five-stage approach that an organisation can undertake to identify, measure and communicate its impact.
The five stages through which training participants are guided are as follows:
1. SCOPE IT – Undertake a strategic review to assess the various factors driving their organisation’s social element. The user is prompted to take into account the organisation’s mission and objectives, stakeholder priorities, the external environment, internal drivers and the activities undertaken.
2. MAP IT – Having identified which activities relate most closely to their intended impacts, organisations map out the relationships between their everyday work and the short-, medium- and long-terms effects of carrying that out.
3. TRACK IT – Assigning key impact indicators to outcomes allows organisations to generate ongoing, quantitative data to represent their impacts.
4. TELL IT – Once impact data is collected this is put into context by identifying the most appropriate types of comparison with which to highlight social impacts and make them readily understood by a variety of audiences.
5. EMBED IT – Only by ensuring this procedure is followed rigorously and data collected on a regular basis will social impact assessment prove to be a worthwhile exercise. Hard wiring the framework at all levels of an organisation is an essential part of the process and allows for constant review and improvement.:
SIMPLE has wide applicability to organisations in the third sector, of any size, in all stages of development.
Implementing the framework requires a lead person to have undergone the two-day training programme. Ideally this person should have easy access to management information.
Proficiencies or skills
An understanding of strategic planning or business planning is useful, although the elements of the process can be learned while using the tool during the training.
In addition to the two days’ staff time necessary for training, implementing the various stages (in particular the data collection) will require time and resources depending on the number of stakeholders involved and the size and reach of the organisation’s activities.
Courses, support, and information
SIMPLE is owned and supported by Social Enterprise London. It was originally developed as a three-day training programme accredited at Level 5 by the Institute of Leadership & Management as a Vocationally Related Qualification (VRQ). Henceforth, training will entail a two-day programme either in- house or at the organisation, but without formal VRQ accreditation.
For more information on the SIMPLE approach to social impact assessment please contact SEL on 020 7022 1920 www.sel.org.uk
The SIMPLE programme was co-financed by the South East England Development Agency and the European Social Fund