The Social Enterprise Gold Mark was introduced almost seven years ago, providing a framework to encourage and recognise excellence in social enterprise, that encapsulated and built upon the standards established by the criteria of the original Social Enterprise Mark.
A few years ago, we completed a review and revision of these standards and the assessment process, which now serves to distinguish organisations that have demonstrated an exceptional level of consistency and depth of compliance across all the Gold Mark criteria. Having completed the re-assessment of all existing Social Enterprise Gold Mark Holders, any organisation that now engages with a Gold Mark assessment can now be awarded one of two levels of accreditation, as follows:
- Social Enterprise Excellence – where an organisation has demonstrated a range of best practice across all five of the additional Gold Mark criteria as whole, even if they are stronger in some criteria, and less so in others.
- Social Enterprise Outstanding Practice – where an organisation has demonstrated the highest levels of excellence and has clearly and unequivocally shown robust best practice across all the Gold Mark criteria.
Organisations that demonstrate the highest levels of excellent practice may be awarded the distinction of Social Enterprise Outstanding Practice. This standard is meant to be demanding, and whilst it possible to attain this recognition immediately, it may sometimes only be possible through closely engaging with all the requirements of the framework, which is best achieved through the Social Enterprise Gold Mark assessment and first demonstrating Social Enterprise Excellence. The assessment process helps inform where an organisation stands in relation to the Gold Mark framework, in order to better understand what specific development may be required to achieve Outstanding Practice.
Assessment and Compliance Manager Richard Cobbett, who was responsible for assessing the University, said: “The Social Enterprise Gold Mark sets standards of social enterprise excellence, which an organisation can work with to help raise their performance and achieve recognition for the highest levels of best practice in what it means to be an excellent social enterprise.
The University of Winchester have held the Gold Mark for several years now, and in the intervening period between assessments, have continued to build upon the levels of excellence they originally reached, particularly in the criteria of stakeholder engagement and reporting social impact. Their progress and achievements in these areas reinforce their award for Social Enterprise Gold Mark Outstanding Practice, the first organisation to have achieved this, and the evidence suggests there is much to come from them as a result of these efforts.”
Our accreditation portfolio provides a pathway for development for all social enterprises, from those just establishing themselves to those who are beacons of a broad range of best practice. Any social enterprise committed to continuous improvement and external scrutiny can engage with the framework to help develop and reinforce recognition of their good practice against clear and robust standards.
If you have any questions about the Social Enterprise Gold Mark and assessment framework please get in touch.