Social investors unite to develop a common impact reporting framework

By David Ainsworth, Third Sector Online, 19 November 2012

Caroline Mason

Caroline Mason

Big Society Capital chief operating officer Caroline Mason says it is working with 14 organisations, including Social Investment Business and Nesta, on an 'impact plan' model for investees

The UK’s largest social investment organisations are working together to develop a common impact reporting framework, according to Caroline Mason, chief operating officer at the social investor Big Society Capital.

BSC is working with 14 organisations, including the social investor the Social Investment Business, the innovation support charity Nesta and the ethical bank Triodos, to develop a standard "impact plan" model which investees can use when submitting applications and evidence to all social investors.

Mason said the plan was not intended to tell people how to measure their impact, but would focus on the kind of information that social investors wanted to hear.

"The idea is the same as a model business plan," she said. "It should show who you’re trying to help, what you’re trying to achieve, and how you’re trying to achieve it. And why you think that’s an effective way to do it.

"It means that if you produce a single report saying ‘these are my outcomes’, we will all accept it."

She said BSC has also commissioned New Philanthropy Capital, the New Economics Foundation, the SROI Network and Investing for Good to draw up a series of common definitions that could be used to define impact in social investment, and two guides to social value.

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