Throughout the pandemic, we have been proactive in updating our guidance to maintain supply chain fluidity whilst balancing local restrictions and staff and consumer safety. Following the recent launch of a suite of audit options to provide practical and robust solutions to enable continued certification for sites and assurance for their customers, we have worked closely with our International Advisory Boards and other Brands to understand their issues and to ensure that BRCGS meets their requirements. The following are just some of the Brands that have welcomed these solutions and have accepted that that in cases where a site cannot have a physical audit (as proven by the delivery partner) and their extended certificate is about to expire, then a remote audit will be accepted.
A summary of the available audit options is below:
Onsite Announced/Unannounced Audits – where onsite audits are permitted these can be completed according to the normal audit protocol for the Standard.
Blended Audits – This will be a permanent option for announced audit programmes for the Standards. The audit takes place in two parts. A remote online assessment of some or all of the documentation followed by a shorter onsite audit. This provides the opportunity for a rigorous audit but with a reduction in auditor time spent onsite.
Certificate Extension - Where it is not possible to carry out an onsite audit of an existing certificated site, then the certificate may be extended for up to 6 months. Granting of the extension is based upon a risk assessment and review between the site and certification body of the controls in place at site.
Full Remote Assessment - Available for sites when the certificate extension has expired and it is still not possible for an audit to take place onsite due to Coronavirus restrictions or where a site does not need a GFSI recognised certificate. The remote audit includes a review of internal audit results, a remote document review and video audit of production/storage facilities.
Covid-19 Additional Voluntary Module - BRCGS have published a separate assessment which may be used at any time to provide assurance around the management of Covid-19 risks. The assessment is undertaken as a remote audit and focuses on areas of the food safety system which are potentially at greater risk as a result of the changes enforced to address Covid-19 such as changes to supply chains.