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State of affairs: Covid-19 and FCA audits


International measures are still in effect to limit the spread of COVID-19 in several countries. The measures vary from one country to another and sometimes within different regions of a country.

 

In several countries, a gradual reopening of businesses and relaxation of the lockdown-policies will be enforced from 11 May onwards. However, this situation differs between countries.

 

It is important to always follow up the policies taken by local authorities.

OVOCOM organizes bi-weekly follow-up meetings with the international service providers in order to evaluate the situation internationally as well as the application of the adapted audit procedures. 

 

Since 13 March, adapted audit procedures are possible for companies where the on-site audit can be postponed up to a maximum of 6 months. The requirement is that a documentary audit is carried out before the certificate expires.  This can be done by means of videoconference, telephone, e-mail and other available means whereby the auditor can make the necessary verifications. On-site audits could recently still take place, subject to the agreement of both parties, and taking into account the applicable hygiene and safety regulations. 

 

As of 11 May, a transitional phase of relaxing measures and restarting activities will start. From 1 June onwards, FCA audits will have to be conducted according to the ordinary time schedules.

 

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Timeline and examples:

Example 1

The planned recertification audit at the FCA company was scheduled for 10 April, due to COVID-19 measures the on-site audit could not take place and was therefore postponed.  A remote documentary audit was carried out on 4 May before the expiry date of the certificate.                   

          

The on-site audit (i.e. the remaining part of the audit) should take place before 10 October (i.e. at the latest 6 months after the date originally scheduled).

 

Example 2

An audit at an FCA company is scheduled for 14 June, the full audit will be carried out on site. The possibility is offered - in agreement between the certification body and the company - to carry out part of the audit remotely in advance in order to limit the time of the on-site audit on 14 June.

 

The requirement for carrying out part of the remote audit is that the necessary documents can be displayed digitally and questions can be answered.

 

Conclusion

In order to limit the audit time on site, the possibility is offered to carry out part of the audit remotely, in agreement between the certification body and the company. The elements that can be checked off in this way in advance by the auditor should then no longer be checked on the company. The condition is that the necessary documents can be submitted digitally.

 

The situation and the practical possibilities may differ between the operators. A documentary audit and a partial remote audit also require preparation and time.

 

If an operator prefers the normal and complete on-site audit, this is possible, provided that the applicable safety measures, such as social distancing and hand hygiene, are taken into account and that both parties agree.

 

The possibility to have part of the audit carried out remotely - in consultation with your certification body - is valid until further notice (as long as measures in the framework of the fight against COVID-19 are enforced).

 

11 May 2020
 

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