COVID-19 policy

We in Australia, like the rest of the world are doing our part in helping “to stop the spread” of COVID-19.

Australian like many other governments have imposed various measures to flatten the curve. This means that our auditors have been restricted from visiting customer premises to conduct audits.

We at Sustainable Certification are here to help our customers maintain their valid certification, so that they can continue to partake in jobs that may require them to be certified. Consequently, Sustainable Certification has implemented JAS-ANZ accredited processes to conduct remote audits using Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Of course, these audits cannot replace the real onsite audits but are being carried out during these extraordinary circumstances. Some of the platforms our auditors have successfully used include Zoom, Skype, Whatsapp, Facetime etc. We don’t have any preference to any as long as both the auditors and customers agree on a set of tools. It is important to note it may still be necessary as soon as practicable for a site visit to confirm the findings during the remote audits.

These ICT audits may be synchronous or asynchronous by customers submitting evidence by email or other transfer methods, we acknowledge that the information is confidential in nature and will be used only in the course of the audit. It will not used for any other purposes and auditors will destroy or remove your information from their possessions.

We have put in place many measures to ensure current audit schedule is maintained so that certificates are current. However we also understand that not every customer is in a position to participate in a remote audit. In such circumstances we may be able to extend the audits by a few months. In order for this to happen, you must apply to SC for special consideration and meet the criteria for approval.

  • If approved, we will require as a minimum the following documentary evidence upfront.
  • Agenda & minutes from Management Review meetings
  • Agenda & minutes/reports from Internal audits, clearly demonstrating with evidences of implementation.
  • Updated risk register (including legal, regulatory recruitments) and appreciate risk treatment plans.
  • 50% of audit agreed fees to be paid upfront prior to extending certificate dates.

Our auditors will review the documents provided and determine if an extension can be approved.

Once a decision is finalised you will be notified. We are only permitted to extend to a maximum period of 6 months and if we are unable to conduct the audit, we will have to restart the certification process starting with a stage 1 audit.

Like all other businesses impacted, we are hopeful this will be over soon as we will all be able to resume normality and carry on the business as usual.

Be safe and stay healthy.

Please see below updated process for audits:

Document Review Audits ( Stage 1 Assessment)  Document Review audits will be completed remotely using the applicable document sharing process.

Document communication is encouraged to be via the SC portal which all clients are given access to and instruction on how to upload.

Your audit plans will include details on what documents you will be required to upload prior to the audit and have available during the audit. The audit plan will also indicate individuals who will be required for video interview – please ensure all appropriate personnel also have access to the agreed video conferencing technology and are aware to be available for the time indicated in the plan.

Certification Audit ( Stage 2 Assessment)  Following successful completion of stage 1 audits, and based on SC’s review of organisation scope and risks a decision will be made whether an organisation qualifies for a remote stage 2 audit. Stage 2 Certification Audit may require the following ( not limited to) :

  • meetings by means of teleconference facilities, including audio, video and data sharing;
  • audit of documents and records by means of remote access, either synchronously (in real time) or asynchronously (when applicable);
  • recording of information and evidence by means of still video, video (including drones) or audio recordings; and
  • providing visual/audio access to remote or potentially hazardous locations.
 Surveillance Audits  With regards to surveillance assessments, the auditor and the client can mutually agree to conduct the audit via remote auditing technique.

Your audit plans will include details on what documents you will be required to upload prior to the audit and have available during the audit. The audit plan will also indicate individuals who will be required for video interview – please ensure all appropriate personnel have access to the agreed video conferencing technology and are aware to be available for the time indicated in the plan.

Recertification/ Triennial Audits Re-Certification Audits will be conducted as due also using the remote audit technique.

Audit may require the following ( not limited to) :

  • meetings by means of teleconference facilities, including audio, video and data sharing;
  • audit of documents and records by means of remote access, either synchronously (in real time) or asynchronously (when applicable);
  • recording of information and evidence by means of still video, video (including drones) or audio recordings; and
  • providing visual/audio access to remote or potentially hazardous locations.
Non Conformities Where a non-conformity is unable to be verified using remote techniques the following will apply:

Minor NC: upgraded to a major with an extension of 3 months maximum to address

Major NC: suspension process may apply if unable to effectively verify action taken to address the major NC.

Audit Planning SC will include in audit plans where an audit has been planned for in line with this COVID 19 Policy and that remote technique will be applied (refer above regarding suitable remote methods )
Onsite Audits When and where possible the auditor will visit sites, organisations are encouraged to complete the COVID 19 Checklist available via the SC Client portal. Should the client have any concerns or suspected cases of COVID contact prior to or during the scheduled audit they must notify SC and the audit team immediately.

Swami Nathan

18th December 2020

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

To find out more give us a call on 1800 024 940