What does the tool measure?
Owned and developed by Social Enterprise London, the SIMPLE (Social IMPact measurement for Local Economies) framework, can be used by organisations to communicate the social benefits and added social value created by their activities.
Who can use the tool?
The SIMPLE framework can be used by organisations in third sector, of varying size and across different sectors, by social enterprises and businesses wanting to examine their social impact.
The approach involves an internal strategic review, alongside an outcomes based assessment. Stages in the framework are further described below:
How does the tool/approach work?
SIMPLE uses a five stage approach:
1. Scope it -
By carrying out a strategical review, boundaries of scope can be set. This requires an organisation to select the relevant area/s, or scope, that will be explored. Whilst considering the scope, organisation’s can take the following factors into account:
- Aims and activities
- Overall objectives – what missions and values?
- Stakeholder priorities – what is most important for the key stakeholders?
- External environment
- Internal drivers
2. Map it -
The second stage of the SIMPLE framework involves mapping out effects of daily work activities. Part of this mapping requires the exploration of relationships between the work/activities that are being carried out by the organisation and the short, medium and long-term effects of doing so. As part of business planning, organisations can map out where impact is likely to occur in the future, taking into account the data that should be collected to evidence their impact.
3. Track it -
Tracking outcomes can be achieved by assigning appropriate indicators to measure outcomes. The continuation of data collection processes by an organisation can enable the generation of appropriate data to represent the impact being measured and this can be built upon, over time, depending on the impacts being measured, or if the organisation wishes to explore them in future.
4. Tell it -
Exploring and discussing the social impacts, contextualising for a range of audiences.
5. Embed it -
Using impact assessment as part of reviewing processes and maintaining data collection systems to ensure process is embedded within organisation.
By selecting suitable indicators, organisations can evidence their social impact based on the systems they have put in place in order to gather appropriate information. This can help organisations to visualize how they are creating positive social change and in turn collect supporting evidence outcomes being created, as a result of the project/activity/s being measured. The framework can be useful for identifying information that is not currently being measured in future, to demonstrate the organisation’s level of social impact.
The benefits of using the SIMPLE framework include improving an organisation’s performance through strategical analysis, maintaining adaptability for different circumstances within different types of organisations.
How to get started and further information
One or two-day long training is available from Social Enterprise London for organisations implementing the SIMPLE framework. http://www.sel.org.uk
For more information on the SIMPLE tool, please see the following link to the Social Enterprise London site: http://www.sel.org.uk/impact-assessment/