Social audit regulation within the NGO sector: Practices of NGOs operating in Bangladesh and Indonesia

Vien Thi Thanh Chu, Belinda Luke

    Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Social audit is one of those important mechanisms for strengthening NGOs’ accountability to poor communities (as NGOs’ key beneficiaries). However, conducting social audits within the NGO sector often rests on the individual interests and priorities of donors or NGOs themselves, effectively resulting in self-selection bias, and limiting the effectiveness and usefulness of social audits as a control and evaluation mechanism.

    The purpose of this chapter is to identify the prevalence, scale, and scope of social audits within the NGO sector, particularly NGOs engaging in microenterprise development programs. Accordingly, this study examined 20 NGOs operating in two countries - Bangladesh and Indonesia. Data were collected from publicly available sources and in-depth interviews with senior executives of the participating NGOs. Further, 10 interviews were conducted with a small sample of beneficiaries (individuals or groups from four of the participating NGOs) in order to gain an understanding of beneficiaries’ perceptions of the NGOs’ social audit mechanism. The findings reveal a range of approaches to social audit among NGOs, as well as the usefulness and limitations of this mechanism for strengthening NGO accountability, particularly to beneficiaries. Findings highlight that within the NGOs investigated the conduct of social audits remained voluntary and was strongly dependant on donors’ requirements. As social audit regulation within the NGO sector is minimal, the findings provide regulators with valuable guidance for better understanding the value of social audit as a mechanism to strengthen accountability of the NGO sector, particularly accountability to beneficiaries.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSocial audit regulation
    Subtitle of host publicationDevelopment, challenges and opportunity
    EditorsM. Rahim, S. Idowu
    Place of PublicationSwitzerland
    ISBN (Electronic)9783319158389
    ISBN (Print)9783319158372
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Publication series

    NameCSR, Sustainability, Ethics & Governance


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