SAI and HAP are now accepting applications for the Social Accountability Consultant Registry. The Consultant Registry aims to bring new transparency and professionalism to social compliance consulting and capacity building activities. Webinars introducing the platform are scheduled for February 13 and February 14, 2023. Learn more about the application process and requirements.
Consultants and trainers can play an important role in helping companies address social performance risks and improving outcomes for workers, complementary to, but distinct from the role of auditors, brands, NGOs, worker groups, and unions. They often help companies navigate and apply social standards and requirements, but skilled professionals can help companies go beyond auditing to embed changes in daily operations by securing leadership buy-in and ownership of labor improvements, fostering worker engagement and participation, and guiding companies to internalize these and other positive changes in their organizational culture.
These services have great potential to improve social performance, but without structures for quality control, professional development, and transparency, there is potential for abuse. SAI sees investment in responsible and skilled social performance consulting as a critical component of advancing human rights in workplaces globally. The teams at HAP also see great potential in this approach; they are working with industry leaders across sectors to use technology for more oversight and confidence in local consultant networks that support social performance standards.
The Social Accountability Consultant Registry will elevate and recognize consultants who demonstrate a baseline level of relevant training and experience and who look beyond simple compliance, applying a management systems and capacity building approach that integrates worker voice.
To become recognized on the public registry, consultants also must agree to a Code of Conduct based on best practices and standards for management system consulting. The Consultant Registry will benefit experienced social accountability consultants by giving them greater visibility and recognition, but it is a valuable tool for many stakeholders, including:
- Companies seeking to improve their social compliance or achieve social certifications;
- Brands and retailers seeking reliable service providers to improve compliance across their supply chains;
- Standard-setting organizations concerned about proliferation of unqualified and sometimes unscrupulous social compliance consultants; and
- Workers, who have a right to have their voices heard when it comes to their safety and wellbeing at work.
Through the Consultant Registry, these and other stakeholders will be able to view a list of consultants with professionally verified experience and training to help companies achieve long-term social improvements. The application and training requirements are based on best practices in social performance management systems from the widely recognized SA8000 Standard. These can be broadly applied to achieve compliance with most other social standards and codes.
Any consultant or trainer offering services related to social compliance, accountability, or similar topics can now apply online for recognition in the Consultant Registry. The application asks for evidence of training, credentials, experience, general knowledge related to social accountability capacity building, and agreement to a code of conduct. The experts at HAP then review the applications to verify the information provided and add approved applicants to the public list. To achieve full registration, consultants will be required to complete a specialized consultant training course within two years.