The Coronavirus (Covid-19) is causing tremendous impacts on a global scale and many organisations and individuals are questioning whether their certification is at risk should they not receive their assessments as planned.
The health and well-being of our clients, employees and contractors is our main focus and we need to be mindful of organisations needing to continue running operations, even if they are at limited capacities.
Maintaining certification(s) is one of the concerns of our clients and the Auva Management Team and the situation is being monitored closely and we are working on provisions.
Unfortunately, many of the requirements to which we are required to abide by are set by the International Accreditation Forum. The situation is changing by the hour so it is difficult to give an accurate policy at this time but we would like to highlight the below:
- All employees and contractors are to follow best practice hygiene practices to prevent the spread of Covid-19
- All employees and contractors should not put themselves or anyone else at risk
- If employees or contractors are showing any symptoms they should go into immediate isolation in line with government guidance
- No overseas travel is permitted at this time
Each client will be taken on a case by case basis and an assessment performed on each upcoming assessment to determine the feasibility of a remote assessment or delayed assessment.
One of the options that is being explored at this time is the possibility of remote auditing, this can be used in extreme situations like we are experiencing. This is not to be used for all clients and assessment types but will be utilised as much as possible.
A remote audit is one that is conducted partially or completely off-site. The audit will cover the usual elements of a management system audit but Information Technology will be used instead of in person.
A remote audit will be of the same duration as your onsite audit unless we determine that a partial remote audit can only be performed, in which case we shall proportionately allocate time to the activity.
We would need to use screen sharing technology that can be provided by yourselves or we have our own software that can be used. You will also need to have video conferencing facilities available to key members of your team. We will also require you to email documents for review by the auditor during the audit and these would be dealt with as per our normal confidentiality procedures. Any documents used for the remote audit will be deleted once the audit has been completed and accepted through our certification review process.
For shop floor activities we will require you to walk around with cameras such as that on your phone to cast to our auditor. If this is not possible then you would be deemed to require a partial remote audit not a fully remote audit.
Clients will be required to complete a questionnaire and this will be reviewed internally to ascertain whether remote auditing can be applied or not.
Please note that remote auditing will not necessarily replace normal assessments but may be used to partially demonstrate continued certification. This will be assessed on a case by case basis.
If remote auditing is permitted, the client will need to abide by certain requirements which includes using Video conferencing facilities to demonstrate evidence of participation and continued certification.
Delays to your Assessment
If we are unable to perform an effective assessment remotely then our next preferred method is to delay your assessment, we may perform a partial audit and delay a proportion or we may delay the full assessment until an appropriate time.
At this moment in time we are permitted to delay a first surveillance visit up to 18 months after the certification decision has been made and up to the end of the calendar year for other assessment types.
Extension of Certificates
In exceptional circumstances we may be permitted to extend the validity of certification on a temporary basis for up to 6 months. Any extension shall be removed and the original certificate date reinstated once the government has removed all restrictions.
The extension of certification is at the discretion of Auva and will be used as a last resort.
Requesting a change to the Regular Assessment
Auva are managing the process under government guidelines and will continue to audit as per normal procedures where possible. If an organisation is willing to accept a normal on site assessment but the assigned auditor is not willing to perform the assessment under current circumstances we shall assign a new auditor.
If a client organisation wishes to request a change to the current onsite assessment process it must be done so in writing to email@example.com.
Upon receipt, we shall review the request and issue the questionnaire and perform a risk assessment. We shall then notify the client of the possibility of performing a remote or partially remote assessment or alternatives such as delaying the assessment date.
Your certification is very important to us and we want to provide you with the most appropriate mechanism to suit your needs. And likewise, everyone’s health and safety is paramount so will always be considered in any decision.