Step by Step

This information is available to download in a flowchart format

For people who prefer a list, the step by step process for applying to become a Star Social Firm is shown below. Both should be read in conjunction with the Information & Guidance on the Star Social Firm quality standard.

1. First the enterprise is identified as a Social Firm; it operates in accordance with the Values-Based Checklist and has a minimum of 2 years trading accounts.

2. The Social Firm finds out more about becoming a Star Social Firm
Use resources at:

or contact
Kathy Baker at Social Firms UK
Tel: 01273 890333.

3. Social Firm discusses applying for the Star Social Firm with its staff and Board and gains their commitment.

4. Social Firm decides it wants to become a Star Social Firm.
A senior staff member agrees to take responsibility for leading the application process.

5. Social Firm studies the Application Form and Guidance Document. This gives full information on the application process.
Social Firms UK provides free advice and support to members to make a successful application. If you are not already a member of Social Firms UK you are strongly advised to join and take advantage of this support.

6. Social Firm ensures its staff understand the application procedure, what is expected of them and their role within the process. Application and assessment guidance notes are available.

7. Social Firm completes the Application Form ensuring that answers to questions demonstrate the ways in which they meet the criteria.

8. Social Firm checks that all supporting evidence and documents are available.
Social Firm prepares a list of the documents it will attach to the application and others to be available during Assessment visit.

9. Social Firm submits its application and all supporting documentation to together with the Assessment fee.

10. Receipt of application acknowledged electronically within 3 working days.
Assessor name(s) emailed to Social Firm once Assessment Fee received.

11. Star Social Firm assessor contacts the Social Firm to make introductions and agree a mutually convenient Assessment date.

12. Assessor(s) agree a mutually convenient Assessment date & time with the Social Firm.
The assessment time needed varies according to staff size and the number of locations.
Assessors will confirm arrangements with the Social Firm by email.

13. Once the Assessor has had an opportunity to read the Social Firm application s/he will make contact re: the people s/he would like to meet and any extra documents that should be made available.
The Assessor may also ask for clarification on some points within the application.

14. Social Firm Preparation for the Assessment
Social Firms should:

  • assist Assessors by arranging a visit schedule that uses the time effectively;
  • ensure a quiet room for meetings is available during the assessment;
  • ensure that all documentation that may be needed as evidence will be quickly and easily available to the Assessor;
  • check that people the Assessor wishes to meet will be available; and agree alternatives if needed.

15. Assessment visits normally begin with an introductory meeting with senior staff.
There will also be meetings with other staff, informal ‘on the job’ discussions with others and an examination of documents.
At the end of the Assessment the Assessor will meet again with the lead person (and other staff as agreed) to discuss the findings.

16. Assessors are not obliged to provide an indication of the recommendation that will go to the Panel during the Assessment visit.
If the Assessor believes some work (a small amount) is needed before a recommendation can go to the Assessment Panel the Social Firm will be provided with an Action Plan.

Firms have 4 weeks to complete the work contained in Action Plan work and submit the evidence to the Assessor for agreement.

17. Where Action Plans are not completed or not completed to the Assessor’s satisfaction within 4 weeks the Social Firm can either:

  • withdraw the application. Re-applications are accepted after 6 months. (There is a re-application fee)


  • let the application go forward to the Assessment Panel recognising that the Assessor will not recommend Star Social Firm status.

18. Following the Assessment (assuming no Action Plan) the Social Firm will be sent a Development Plan (areas to be given attention before re-evaluation) electronically within 10 working days.

19. A copy of the overall recommendation that will go to the Assessment Panel will be sent to the Social Firm within 10 working days of the Assessment visit or 10 working days of the completed Action Plan.
See Step 17 if the overall recommendation is not to award the Star Social Firm.

Where there is an Action Plan the Development Plan will be sent once this is agreed as satisfactory.

20. The Assessment Panel will convene within 4 working weeks of receipt of the Assessor recommendation.
The Panel’s chair will write to the Social Firm informing them of their decision (with feedback as needed) within 5 working days.

The Panel’s decision is final. Re- applications can be made after 6 months

21. Successful applicants will receive the Star Social Firm Logo and plaque as soon as possible after the Panel decision – normally 10 working days

General Information & Guidance Dec 09.doc1.34 MB