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COVID-19 Certification Guidelines

Posted at March 17, 2020 » By : » Categories : News & Events » Comments Off on COVID-19 Certification Guidelines

COVID-19 Certification Guidelines

Q-CERT, following closely the current developments in the coronavirus (Covid 19) guidelines of the World and National Health Organization and taking into consideration the safety of its partners and the smooth operation of certification procedures, decided the following:

For the Certification Body Employees:

  • We recommend that you work from home instead of coming into the QMSCERT offices (unless necessary because of the nature of your work)
  • For those who need access to the system files, Mr. Kostas Aftzoglou will be available and will undertake the difficult task of providing technical arrangements for teleworking.
  • There will be a sufficient number of employees at headquarters to ensure the smooth operation of our organization (such as customer communication, file and information management)

Conducting Inspections / Audits

Following the IAF Directive (IAF Statement on COVID-19) which refers to IAF ID3 2011 and IAF MD4 2018 as well as specific scheme guidelines (such as BRC, GLOBALG.A.P., IFS, FSSC 22000) we will conform to the following:

For areas where there is a ban on travel (subject to severe restriction measures) elements (i) 1 & 2 and (ii) 1 & 2 apply as well as scheme specific guidelines (BRC, IFS, FSSC22000, GLOBALG.A.P or others).

Companies that are unable to conduct audits due to the coronavirus incident, they should inform us in writing of the reason using the document/form F-2537 Customers Communication in case of Extr. Ord. Ev.

Q-CERT will evaluate the reasoning based on the Directives of the Authorities and the overall strategy to prevent the transmission of the disease.

Depending on the outcome and in cases where there are no relevant guides from the Scheme Manager, Q-CERT will do the following:

i) For Surveillance Audits:

  1. Remote audit*, if feasible, on the basis of the company’s activity or based on the use of technologies that allow remote access and monitoring of sites / facilities etc. of the company, or
  2. Change/extend the due date of the audit to a maximum of six months
  3. Contact the customer again, and if there is unsubstantiated refusal of audit, the validity of his certificate will be suspended.

ii) For Recertification Audits:

  1. Remote audit* if feasible, on the basis of the company’s activity or based on the use of technologies that allow remote access and monitoring of sites / facilities etc. related to the company’s activities. In this case, the certificate shall be extended for a period of six (6) months, during which an on-the-spot check shall be carried out as part of the re-certification inspection. In the event that the on-the-spot check is not carried out within this period, the certificate shall be withdrawn, or
  2. Extend the validity of the certificate for a period of six (6) months within which the re-certification inspection is to be carried out. In the event that the on-the-spot check is not carried out within this period, the certificate shall be withdrawn, or
  3. Contact the customer again and if the customer continues to refuse while there is no substantiated reason, we will revoke the certificate.

For BRCGS audits

It is valid what is included in guide BRC072 BRCGS Audits impacted by Covid-19 12_03_20 and the QMSCERT regulation F-2132 BRCGS REMOTE AUDIT (COVID 19).

For FSSC 22000 audits

It is valid what is included in guide 20.0226-position-paper-Corona-virus

For GLOBALG.A.P. audits

It is valid what is included in guide 200313_coronavirus_emergency_procedure_en

For IFS audits

It is valid what is included in guide IFS Important information about Coronavirus disease and the consequences.

*Remoteaudit

This method of inspection presupposes the use of visual and audio communication (via camera, smartphone, other media) and in cases where there are no specific scheme instructions, it includes:

  • Supply the audit plan and audit methodology to the customer
  • At a minimum, snap shot / screen capture of the start and end meeting where participants will appear along with the time and date.
  • Obtain copies of management system documentation by e-mail, or documentation and capturing the data through screen sharing techniques.
  • Interview with relevant staff using snap shots/screen capture.
  • If possible, tour and inspect of installations using a portable camera/smartphone, including the overview of activities (again with a minimum snap shot / screen capture).
  • Documentation of findings and reporting them to the customer through e-mail/fax.
  • Reception by e-mail/fax the acceptance of the findings and the corrective action plans and proof of implementation as necessary
  • Filling up the audit forms, checklists, findings/NC report, audit report

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