CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) INFORMATION
In light of the current circumstances, we are contacting all clients six to eight weeks prior to their next audit.
We are often able to offer remote audits to enable you to maintain your certification. This is being discussed with clients on an individual basis.
We have prepared a list of Frequently Asked Questions about how remote auditing works in practice. But if you have concerns or additional queries, please just contact us.
Thank you for your understanding and patience at this difficult time.
The Approachable Certification Team
Frequently Asked Questions regarding Audits and Covid-19
We still want the audit on site
We appreciate some businesses are working as normal and trying to remain as operational as possible. We also appreciate many companies working practices have changed over the last year or so and an onsite audit may not be possible. As such, we are discussing this with clients on an individual basis to ascertain how best to proceed with the audit, whilst keeping in line with the most recent Government guidelines.
How long will this stay in place for?
Our current practices are in place for the foreseeable future, and we are constantly reviewing the situation and updating our customers accordingly.
Will all audits take place remotely?
No, we are discussing this with clients on an individual basis to ascertain how best to proceed with their next audit. Should a remote audit be required, your auditor will review the plan featured at the end of your previous audit report and amend it accordingly to define communication channels and areas that require objective.
Our staff are not in the office. How will this work?
If you have key members of staff working from home the audit can still take place remotely. We would require some documents to be sent to our office or auditor. Your auditor will keep in contact with you throughout the day and connect via Skype, Zoom or Teams. If this is not possible, we can use good old-fashioned phone calls to discuss audit requirements.
What technology do we need for the remote audit?
You will need to have a secure email address that we can use to communicate with you and of course a phone line, preferably with a speakerphone. Where possible we’d still like to maintain face to face contact, even though we can’t be there in person. Our preference is to use Teams, which you would need to have downloaded onto your device. You’ll need a microphone and speakers if they aren’t in-built. If this is not suitable, we are able to use other options such as WhatsApp video, Conference call, Facetime (if you’re an iPhone user) or a method of your choice such as Zoom. In addition, for document management, there are various options such as SharePoint, OneDrive and Dropbox. Your auditor will communicate with you to discuss this further and to ensure the audits run as smoothly as possible for both parties.
We would rather postpone the audit than have a remote audit.
We appreciate that this is an ever-changing situation for everybody. However, under UKAS guidelines, we are required to carry out audits in line with your current schedule. You will receive a visit notification six to eight weeks prior to your audit. Please let us know if you are able to accommodate an onsite audit so we can inform your auditor and put the appropriate plan in place for the audit. Should the audit be remote everything will take place in the same way – just over the phone or video call rather than face to face. Everything can be worked to fit around your schedule and the key personnel who may or may not be in the office. As with all audits, there is no pass or fail and with a remote audit, this remains the same.
What documents do we need to send over for the audit?
We will contact you to discuss full details of what will be required during your opening meeting. To allow you to prepare as fully as possible, as a minimum, you will be required to provide the following documentation or information for review during the remote audit:
- Internal audits and management review records
- Actions taken on nonconformities identified during the previous audit
- Complaints handling
- Effectiveness of the management system with regards to achieving objectives and the intended results of the management system(s)
- Review progress for continual improvement
- Confirm continuing operational control – this can be using evidence such as production records and maintenance records
- Review of any changes
- Use of marks and/or any other reference to certification
Staff will also need to be available for interviews on the day
We don’t have electronic copies of our documents.
Even if your documents are hard copies, we can still carry out remote audits. You can scan them and email them over to us. If this is not possible, taking photos on your mobile phone and sending them to us is also an option. Your auditor will work with you to find the best solution and carry out the audit as smoothly as possible.
Will the audit time be reduced?
Whether conducted remotely or onsite, we still have the same UKAS guidelines to follow when it comes to the number of days per audit. Therefore, audit time will not be reduced and fees will remain the same.
We still want to reschedule.
Remote audits will be similar to those on-site. The only difference is that our auditor is not there in person. We understand this is a difficult and unknown time for everybody right now. However, if you should wish to cancel or postpone the audit our usual cancellation policy applies.