How accreditation benefits social enterprises

A short introduction of who you are?

I’m a Business Improvement specialist and Chartered Quality Professional providing objective advice and expertise to help identify value adding business improvement solutions. I’ve held senior roles in quality and business improvement in the UK and internationally across the Rail Transportation, Construction Products and Services, and Electronics Manufacture sectors.  Previous roles have included: Business Excellence Manager with Govia Thameslink Railway; Quality Manager with Bombardier Transportation Services; and earlier in Aerospace and Defence in Product Test and Development with BAe. As a consultant and EFQM Certified Advisor, I’ve completed a variety of assignments with UK and International clients including BQF, EFQM and Investors in Excellence. Now based in the Midlands, I originally lived and worked in South West England and spent almost ten years commuting to London.

Case Study - How accreditation benefits social enterprises - Paul Tarrant

What is your main reason for joining our accreditation team? What were your expectations?

I joined the team as Interim Director of Accreditation and Training at the beginning of July 2022 to manage the existing assessment process and to develop a model for external assessment using both associate and volunteer assessors. My expectations of the role were the need to learn about the products and processes and rapidly assume responsibility for the accreditation activities. The Social Enterprise sector is new to me, but I am a fast learner!

Are there any specific achievements/accomplishments that attracted you to SEM CIC?

SEMCIC are an award-winning organisation with more than 10 years’ experience of social enterprise accreditation and providing credible standards to support genuine social enterprises.

What does accreditation mean to you? What does it say about your businesses who achieve it?

Accreditation for me is the external verification and assurance that an organisation meets a recognised standard. Those businesses achieving accreditation to the Social Enterprise Mark have demonstrated their desire and commitment to trading for the benefit of people and planet.

What benefits have there been to social enterprises as a result of being accredited? E.g. do you feel the accreditation gives people more credibility as a social enterprise?

There are many benefits of accreditation to Social Enterprises which include demonstrating how they are using business to create positive social change; Differentiation, standing out from others as an approved organisation; and providing evidence of their Social Impact publicly. Yes, more credibility is achieved through independent recognition.

What would you say to social enterprise considering accreditation?

Contact SEMCIC about the advice and tailored support we can provide to help you achieve accreditation and the ongoing improvement of your efficiency and effectiveness as a genuine social enterprise. There are Social Enterprise Mark recognition levels to suit business start-ups, those already meeting the standard and achieving best practice and for those organisations aspiring for social enterprise excellence.

What would you love to see happen in the world of Social Enterprise over the next 10 years?

I’d love to see greater recognition for the social value that Social Enterprises create, and larger organisations adapting their purpose and operating principles to become genuine Social Enterprises.

What is the highlight of working with social enterprises? And for a social enterprise?

Their desire and drive to make a positive social impact for their stakeholders. To be a force for good.

Where is your favourite place in the world?

That’s a tough question! I’ve travelled widely in Europe, for business and holidays and the USA for holidays, but the world is a big place and there’s always more to see. Of the European countries I’ve been to I would choose Italy, probably the Amalfi Coast; in the USA, California’s Yosemite National Park and Kings Canyon National Park are favourites.

Any other comments/feedback

In my relatively short time with SEMCIC I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to be a genuine social enterprise. Having worked mostly for, and with, large corporates it is enlightening to be working for a social enterprise business which recognises and builds the capabilities of social enterprises as competitive, sustainable businesses dedicated to maximising social impact.