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


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

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Social audit regulation within the NGO sector: Practices of NGOs operating in Bangladesh and Indonesia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this