Achieving the Social Enterprise Gold Mark

Qualification criteria for the Social Enterprise Gold Mark


The tables below summarise the core requirements for achieving the Social Enterprise Gold Mark.

An organisation does not necessarily need to achieve all the listed requirements in order to achieve the Gold Mark but will be assessed according to the strength of evidence presented across all three criteria.

For example, an organisation that has achieved the majority of requirements listed in at least two of the criteria but which has failed to achieve minimum requirements in the remaining criterion, may still be awarded the Social Enterprise Gold Mark.

Please note these are the minimum requirements to be eligible for the Social Enterprise Gold Mark – you can also view the detailed assessment framework.

Criterion G – Robust Governance

An organisation will be demonstrating higher levels of excellence if it meets the requirements below:
At least one of the following:

The organisation’s governing documents clearly identify ownership, how relevant stakeholders are represented and hold a majority representation in top level decision-making processes (supported by evidence confirming actual practice).


There are other arrangements in place through which the governing body (Board of Directors, Trustees, Governors etc.) directly engages with stakeholder groups, to consult them on strategy, plans and other key decision making processes. (This will ideally include formal, representative stakeholder groups with their own terms of reference).

And at least two of the following apply:

There are transparent, equitable processes in place through which different stakeholder groups represented on the board (and/or other representative stakeholder groups) are regularly appointed to these positions.

There are clear lines of accountability for leadership and responsibility at board level, concerning key areas of performance linked to strategies and plans (including responsibility for monitoring the social and/or environmental impact of the organisation).

A broad and regular range of methods is used to communicate with stakeholders on strategy, plans and performance.

Criterion H – Ethical and Good Business Practice

An organisation will be demonstrating higher levels of excellence if it meets the requirements below:
The organisation is able to show how it monitor’s and tries to ensure reasonable pay ratios between highest and lowest pay levels, relevant to their sector.


The organisation can confirm that it does not use zero hours contracts or unpaid internships and that lowest paid workers receive at least living wage levels (as defined by by the Living Wage Foundation).

The organisation can provide examples of at least 3 of the following:
• stakeholder contributions that have influenced key decisions (including employees);
• the importance of their investment in employee training and development;
• complaints procedures and customer feedback;
• employee work-life balance, health and well-being policies;
• health & safety policy;
• equality & diversity policy;
• environmental/recycling policies;
• social auditing

Criterion I – Social Impact and Financial Transparency

An organisation will be demonstrating higher levels of excellence if it meets the requirements below:
The organisation is able to provide audited accounts, filed in the public domain, covering at least the last financial year.

The organisation is able to provide details of business plans, performance reports, and other supporting information that provides confirmation of the following:
• that trading activities are the primary sources of income (at least 50% of total annual turnover);
• key performance indicators (financial and those showing how social and environmental impact is being measured and valued);
• if applicable, payments to business owners/shareholders, or other external sources;
• what social impact and other added social value has been achieved as a result of different activities, how this has been assessed and measured;
• specific investments in social and/or environmentally targeted commitments – the added social being created from investments (financial or “in-kind” benefits and savings) into activities that do not directly relate to income generation requirements and core business delivery expectations.

The organisation can provide confirmation of at least one of the following:
• targeted and expected sources of future income;
• how competitive edge is achieved through innovation and diversification of products, services and other business activities;
• investment plans towards social and/or environmental purposes for the next 3 years, along with the anticipated impact of these plans.