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

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.

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


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.

“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

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

How do I apply?

Gold Mark application process

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.

When milestones are reached, where does your social enterprise head next?

If being the best at what you do is one of your organisation’s goals, how do you know you’re on course to achieve this?

We’re proud to have developed the Social Enterprise Gold Mark, a route to social enterprise excellence, offering enhanced accreditation to Social Enterprise Mark Holders.

Your organisation will be externally assessed by our Certification Panel and asked to set new goals for continuous improvement on a rolling basis every three years.

Prove your good business sense

How do you know your staff are fairly rewarded?  Do your directors receive reasonable wages?  Does your boardroom run open professional meetings?  Are your profits are distributed ethically?

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

Please click here to view the full detailed assessment framework.

Launch of the Social Enterprise Gold Mark at House of Commons in 2014

“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

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.

The price is provided on application, as it depends on the complexity and size of your organisation. Please note that the fee is chargeable on initial application.

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.