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06 Nov 2023 - Technology - Insite

The data puzzle: meeting the challenges of social compliance reporting

Mining companies in South Africa are facing increasing pressure to enhance their social compliance reporting. The landscape is complex, with various regulations that demand strict adherence and comprehensive reporting. Some of the reporting requirements around these regulations include: 

  • Mining Charter: A key framework set by the Department of Minerals and Energy for promoting economic empowerment for historically disadvantaged South Africans in the mining sector. This framework has specific targets for ownership, employment and procurement. 
  • Social and Labour Plans (SLP): An outline of a company’s commitment to social development and local employment. These plans require information on community development, housing and living conditions, employment equity, and processes to save jobs when a business down-scales or closes.  
  • Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE): A policy set by the South African government to promote an equal-opportunity economy. A key objective is socio-economic inclusion through capacity building and access to opportunities in business and work.   

Compiling accurate annual reports in a timely manner is the starting point for averting penalties and non-compliance notices. To attain a social licence to operate, mining companies must showcase the successful implementation of their social commitments and build trust with their stakeholders through transparency and regular communication. 

While the intricacies of social compliance reporting are contingent on factors such as the mining operation, the minerals being extracted, and the terms of mining licences, social performance practitioners all face similar challenges when sourcing, analysing and reporting on social performance data to maintain their social licence to operate. Here are some of the challenges they encounter: 

Siloed data 

Social performance practitioners often need to rely on other teams to send high-quality and accurate data on time. In the realm of social performance reporting, data needs to be procured from various departments, encompassing human resources, training and procurement, with data often residing in different systems. This process of sourcing and analysing data can be arduous and time-consuming for social performance practitioners during reporting periods. 

Sub-optimal or inconsistent data  

The manual nature of collecting and inputting social performance data across different departments introduces the risk of human error. Inconsistent data collection methods and the absence of a structured framework for collating data can lead to inaccuracies in reporting, hindering a social performance practitioner’s ability to engage transparently with stakeholders. As companies grow, the more data is collected and the higher the likelihood of these risks becomes. 

Data diversity  

Achieving consistent reporting methods is challenging when each business department captures data in disparate systems. Having the ability to evaluate data against pre-defined criteria, is critical for social performance practitioners when data collection and analysis methods vary across business departments.  

Cumbersome processes  

Traditionally, social performance data has been captured in spreadsheets and tracked via emails. As the volume and type of social performance data becomes more complex, these processes become increasingly cumbersome. This manual process not only hinders the ability to operate efficiently but also poses a security risk and a risk to their social licence to operate. Automated data collection and analysis are essential for in-depth reporting and informed, data-driven decision-making. 

Reporting compliance in real time  

Keeping pace with the ever-changing regulatory landscape and multifaceted compliance requirements is difficult. Time-stamped data is no longer sufficient; social performance practitioners need access to accurate, real-time data to continuously assess their obligations status and identify compliance issues across complex supply chain and human resource development processes. 

Social Performance Practitioners discussing social compliance reporting information on computer screen

So, what bridges the gap between social performance practitioners and efficient social performance management?  

Companies are under growing pressure to provide more robust and transparent reporting across environmental, social and governance (ESG) aspects to uphold their social licence to operate. Accurate and timely reporting is just the beginning when it comes to social performance.  

Social performance data management software, such as acQuire’s Insite product, can empower social performance practitioners by offering a complete view of their social compliance, in a single product. Insite removes the complexities of managing social performance information and puts users in control of their compliance reporting using software to translate their baseline data into audit-ready results.  

Developed specifically for the South African market, Insite not only streamlines reporting but also serves as a management tool to assist in enhancing social performance initiatives within an organisation.  

With Insite, companies can navigate the challenges of social compliance and continue improving their social performance impact. Discover more about acQuire’s Insite software.

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