COVID-19

On-site audit

Is the on-site audit different in this crisis?

Valid for all standards in the field of management systems (status as of 1 April 2020)

Answer

The official and company regulations are always observed during the audit (hygiene measures, minimum distance). This is reflected in the audit process:

1. The auditor and the audited persons are provided with masks, if available on site, as a precautionary measure.

2. The opening and closing discussion of the audit takes place with a limited number of participants (max. 3-5 persons).

3. The audit sequences are carried out with a minimum of staff on site, keeping a distance of 2 m.

4. For audit sequences in production: Interviews with employees on site are kept to a minimum. The safety distance is always maintained. We act on site according to the situation and with caution.

5. Lunch is organised on a small scale.

6. The rules of the standard owner are continuously observed.

7. Any deviation from normal practice is noted by the auditor in the ProCert Portal (under changes to the audit plan).

Remote audit

Is it possible to conduct a remote audit?

Valid for all standards in the field of management systems (without GFSI recognized standards) (status as of 1 April 2020)

Answer

YES. An assessment should be conducted to determine if a remote audit can be performed.

Interruption, reduction or temporary termination of production

We had to temporarily stop production. Will ProCert suspend our certificate?

Valid for all standards in the field of management systems (status as of 1 April 2020)

Answer

NO. A risk assessment may be requested by ProCert followed by a possible on-site audit at the time of the production start. ProCert must be kept informed of shutdowns and production starts (according to the certification regulations).

We are producing, but part of our production is discontinued. Can the audit be carried out under these conditions?

Valid for all standards in the field of management systems (status as of 1 April 2020)

Answer

YES. The audit can take place. The auditor decides on site on the definition of possible exclusions. The scope of the new certificate will be adjusted accordingly and an additional audit may be required.

We operate in a "crisis management" mode (reduced activities, teleworking etc.). What are the consequences on our certification?

Valid for all standards in the field of management systems (status as of 1 April 2020)

Answer

Certification can be maintained as long as you continue to control your processes, procedures and operations and ensure the quality and safety of the food produced.

Postponement of the audit and consequences

We'll have a surveillance audit soon. Can I postpone it?

Valid for all standards in the field of management systems (status as of 1 April 2020)

Answer

YES. If the reason for the deferral is related to VIDOC-19 and the evaluation concludes with a possible deferral of up to 6 months, but it is also possible to do it remotely, if the evaluation is positive.

The audit of my site is planned in the coming weeks, will ProCert postpone it?

Valid for all standards in the field of management systems (status as of 1 April 2020)

Answer

NO. ProCert does not postpone an audit by default. The auditor's schedule is very busy, so a postponement is only considered as a last resort.

We work to ensure that planned audits can be maintained while safeguarding the health of   our auditors (compliance with national regulations) and your own access restrictions to the sites.

What are the consequences if I postpone my audit to June or later?

Valid for all standards in the field of management systems (status as of 1 April 2020)

Answer

In this case we will immediately offer you a new audit slot between July and August 2020. This range is potentially the only one that guarantees an audit during the year. We cannot guarantee an audit in 2020 if all our clients postpone their audits.

The audit of my site has been postponed, do I still have to comply with the requirements of the standard(s)?

Valid for all standards in the field of management systems (status as of 1 April 2020)

Answer

YES. Continued compliance with the requirements of the standard is essential to maintain certification, as contractually stipulated. The actions implemented by your site during the Coronavirus crisis will be verified at the latest during the next evaluation, whatever its form.

Does an audit postponement with an evaluation cost me anything?

Valid for all standards in the field of management systems (status as of 1 April 2020)

Answer

YES. It takes about 2-3 hours of work from ProCert. A form will be made available in order to prepare this evaluation.

Expiry of the certificate

If my site could not be audited due to COVID-19 and my certificate is about to expire, is it possible to extend its validity without prior audit/assessment?

Valid for all standards in the field of management systems (status as of 1 April 2020)

Answer

YES. On request and only if you have a ProCert certificate. It is the current certifying body that can extend your certificate. An extension of 6 months is proposed, without an audit. However, a risk assessment by ProCert must be conducted.

If my company could not be audited because of COVID-19 and my certificate is about to expire, will it still be visible on the sites of the standards holders and ProCert?

Valid for all standards in the field of management systems (status as of 1 April 2020)

Answer

YES. If your certificate is extended by 6 months following the above-mentioned procedure.

NO. If the extension was not accepted.

Following a positive result of an extension, will I receive a new certificate?

Valid for all standards in the field of management systems (status as of 1 April 2020)

Answer

YES. Your current certificate is extended by 6 months, with the same area of certification.

Extension of certificate

Our site would like to extend the certificate. Will we automatically receive a new certificate?

Valid for all standards in the field of management systems (status as of 1 April 2020)

Answer

NO. A risk assessment is required to ensure that your system is functioning properly. ProCert has drafted a procedure which is available to clients: the procedure is composed of the following steps:

1. Risk assessment

1.1 Part completed by you, also submitting documents and records to us and

1.2 Part completed by ProCert

2.  Decision by ProCert to extend or not. An interview is conducted to support the decision.

What is the purpose of the interview?

Valid for all standards in the field of management systems (status as of 1 April 2020)

Answer

The purpose of the interview, based on the assessment submitted with the attachments, is to gain confidence that we can extend the certificate on a sound basis.

Is the extension procedure accessible to us?

Valid for all standards in the field of management systems (status as of 1 April 2020)

Answer

YES. Your ProCert account manager is at your   disposal.

Does an extension cost me anything?

Valid for all standards in the field of management systems (status as of 1 April 2020)

Answer

YES. It will take about 2-3 hours of work, including a possible interview with the head of audit in your organisation.

Following an extension of the certificate, the regular on-site audit will take place?

Valid for all standards in the field of management systems (status as of 1 April 2020)

Answer

YES. The re-certification audit must be carried out at the latest 1 month before the end of the extension of the certificate, to ensure the continuity of the certificate.

Do I have an alternative if ProCert does not extend my certificate?

Valid for all standards in the field of management systems (status as of 1 April 2020)

Answer

NO. In this case your certificate expires. ProCert will provide an appropriate justification for its decision.

Is the result of this risk assessment shared with the standard holders or the SAS?

Valid for all standards in the field of management systems (status as of 1 April 2020)

Answer

YES. This assessment, if applicable, must be uploaded to the standards holder portal. Our Accreditation Department must access it in order to verify the correctness of our decision.

Extension of the certification area

We are planning to expand our area of certification with a new range of products. Can I do this remotely, without an on-site audit?

Valid for all standards in the field of management systems (status as of 1 April 2020)

Answer

YES. Provided that the feasibility assessment for a remote audit has confirmed this possibility.

Première certification ou audit phase 2

Nous avons prévu de passer la première certification sous peu (par ex. au mois d’avril). Pouvons-nous atteindre une certification sans passer par un audit sur site, avec un audit à distance par exemple?

Valable pour toutes les normes dans le domaine des systèmes de management (état au 1er avril 2020)

Answer

OUI. A condition que l’évaluation de faisabilité d’audit à distance aie confirmé cette possibilité.

Demonstration of compliance during the COVID-19 crisis

Can I demonstrate to my customers that, in this time of crisis, my company still complies with the requirements of the standard(s)?

Valid for all standards in the field of management systems (status as of 1 April 2020)

Answer

YES, by requesting and obtaining the extension of the validity of your certificate, according to the procedure mentioned above.