What is the Social Enterprise Gold Mark?

The Social Enterprise Gold Mark offers enhanced accreditation to businesses which can demonstrate social enterprise excellence

Achieve Social Enterprise Excellence

When milestones are reached, where does your social enterprise head next? If being the best at what you do is one of your goals, how do you know you’re on course to achieve this?

The Social Enterprise Gold Mark offers enhanced accreditation to social enterprises which can show best practice in proof points across three key areas:

  • governance
  • business ethics
  • financial transparency

It is not just about social impact, it’s about measuring what makes a great social enterprise excellent.

The Gold Mark was launched at the House of Commons in 2014, and there is now a growing network of gold standard accredited social enterprises, including Integrated Care 24, York St John University, and University of Salford.


The Social Enterprise Gold Mark is a symbol of excellence for social enterprises.

It is awarded to organisations that can prove best practice across key business areas, including social impact, financial transparency and business ethics.
Social Enterprise Gold Mark holders

What are the benefits?


Proof of excellence

Stand apart from the crowd, by demonstrating excellence in key business areas, such as governance, ethics, and financial transparency


Prove your good business sense

Prove your good business practices, e.g. that your staff are fairly treated and rewarded, and that your profits are distributed ethically


Transparency

Show the people that matter – staff, customers and partners – how you govern and operate your organisation to create social and environmental benefit


Tailored action plan

Build on what’s unique about your institution: receive an individually tailored action plan for continuous improvement, in line with guidelines of best practice.


“We are passionate about making a difference to our patients, people and partners. 

The Social Enterprise Gold Mark helps us achieve this by benchmarking and acting on these important aspects of our business. This means that we can communicate clearly to our patients, our people and our partners about how we are enhancing the services that we provide them with.”

Gilly CarliellAssociate Director of Communications & Engagement, IC24

Assessment Framework

The Social Enterprise Gold Mark assessment framework has been developed for companies to show evidence on how they either strive to achieve or have achieved these goals. Applicants are externally assessed by our Certification Panel and asked to set new goals for continuous improvement on a rolling basis every three years.

Applicants are not required to meet all aspects of the framework, but should be able to demonstrate compliance with a wide variety of the items referred to.

The Social Enterprise Gold Mark assesses three essential areas of business operations:

  • Governance – stakeholder representation in strategy and operation
  • Business ethics – complaints handling, diversity, equality, pay, workplace issues and social auditing
  • Financial transparency – how financial assets, including profits, create added social and environmental impact

Click here to view and download the full detailed assessment framework.


York St John University is delighted and honoured to have been awarded the Social Enterprise Gold Mark. This much-coveted accreditation is only given to those organisations who can demonstrate they are making a real difference to their community and the environment.

We are one of only a few universities in the UK to have achieved this status and I am deeply grateful that the hard work and dedication of the York St John teams involved have been recognised in such a positive way.

Karen StantonVice Principal, York St John University

Fee Schedule

The fee tier will be assessed each year at the point of renewal, so if turnover has increased or decreased, the licence fee payable will adjust accordingly.

Fee tier Annual income Fee (+ VAT)
1 less than £150,000 £4,600
2 £150,000 – £499,000 £4,700
3 £500,000 – £999,999 £4,800
4 £1,000,000 – £2,999,999 £4,940
5 £3,000,000 – £5,999,999 £5,260
6 £6,000,000 – £9,999,999 £6,000
7 £10,000,000 – £14,999,999 £7,200
8 £15,000,000 – £29,999,999 £8,300
9 £30,000,000 – £49,999,999 £10,000
10 £50,000,000 – £99,999,999 £12,000
11 £100,000,000 and above £14,000

All fees are inclusive of the Social Enterprise Mark licence fee.

Applicants are invoiced up front for the licence fee. International applications will be subject to an additional non-refundable administration fee of £150. 

Please note – all fees are subject to regular review.


“I just want to say what a pleasure the experience of applying for the Social Enterprise Gold Mark has been. I don’t think we could possibly have anticipated at the start of the process just how beneficial it would be to our thinking.”

Colette CherryAssistant Vice-Chancellor, University of Winchester

“The Gold Mark has given us an umbrella to sit under… We had not thought of ourselves as a social enterprise, it’s just what we do. Lucy applied the social enterprise lens to what we do. We’ve learned to think about ourselves in a different way.”

Hannah HarrisDirector of Development, Plymouth College of Art

How do I apply?

Gold Mark application process


Go for Gold

If this sounds right for your organisation, start your application today.  The Social Enterprise Gold Mark will show your commitment to social enterprise excellence.

Click here to download the full assessment framework. If you’d like to find out more, or have any questions, please call us on 0345 504 6536 or email [email protected].

You can also view the Social Enterprise Gold Mark FAQ.


Social Enterprise Gold Mark plaque