The Social IMPact measurement for Local Economies (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 are as follows:
- SCOPE IT – Undertake a strategic review to assess the various factors driving an organisation’s social element.
- 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.
- TRACK IT – Assigning key impact indicators to outcomes allows organisations to generate ongoing, quantitative data to represent their impacts.
- 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.
- 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.
Courses, support, and information
In order to implement the approach, users will need to take part in a two-day, in-house or onsite training programme delivered by SEL.
Development, ownership and support
SIMPLE is owned and supported by Social Enterprise London. training will entail a two-day programme either in- house or at the organisation, but without formal VRQ accreditation.
Further sources of information
For more information on the SIMPLE approach to social impact assessment please contact SEL. www.sel.org.uk