The government has made clear that every company must ensure social distancing from 18/03 12h onwards and that contact with people outside the family must be limited in order to control the pandemy of Covid-19.
Because we can not ensure social distancing during an audit on site and because we are concerned about the safety and health of our auditors and our customers, we have decided that from March 19th till April 5th, no audits on site are allowed to be performed.
In case the auditor is currently in an audit of several days, we will investigate whether this audit can still be finished. If the standard owner allows remote audits, we will investigate the possibility together with our customers. More information about this possibility can you find per standard below.
In case you have questions, please contact your contact person at TÜV NORD INTEGRA.
We would like to wish all the best to our customers and their employees in these uncertain times.
Possibility of postponing the audit and the accompanying consequences. Possible scenarios:
- Site operational but located in an area with a government-imposed travel ban, or corporate policy does not permit any visitors: remote audit carried out and new certificate to be issued if audit is successful.
- Site operational and located in an area with a government-imposed travel ban, but company refuses remote audit: current certificate will expire if no successful on-site audit takes place prior to the ‘audit due date’ as mentioned on the certificate.
- Site not operational: audit cannot take place, must be carried out as soon as the site is operational again. Certificate expires. - Site refuses to admit auditor without justification: audit does not go ahead, non-conformity with audit is recorded after the expiry date.
- Certification Body (CB) cannot supply an auditor: site is advised to seek a different CB. A concession may be requested so that the site does not suffer as a result of a late audit.
- CB needs to move planned audit owing to travel ban for auditors: a concession may be requested so that the site does not suffer as a result of an audit past the expiry date.
- The site remains inaccessible 6 months after the remote audit: a second remote audit may take place if necessary. A maximum of two remote audits may be carried out in a row.
- The site was registered for the unannounced audit programme: the certificate issued on the basis of a remote audit will report the same grade and the same audit programme (announced/unannounced) as the previous certificate. The extra GMP audit will take place in accordance with the same programme as the previous unannounced audit.
Possibility of carrying out a "remote" audit
Remote audits can only be carried out at companies that already have a BRCGS certificate. Only the CB that issued the current certificate may carry out a remote audit at the site.
Initial audits cannot take place remotely.
Your current certificate can be extended for 12 months (grade A or B) or 6 months (grade C or D) if the following process is completed successfully:
- TÜV NORD Integra will make a risk assessment to evaluate whether an extension of your certificate is sensible. Factors in this will include your earlier certification history and your ability to participate in a remote audit.
- TÜV NORD Integra will provide you with a “Risk Assessment Checklist” in a timely manner that enables you to carry out an internal audit.
- You must return the “Risk Assessment Checklist” within 1 month.
- An arrangement will be made for a remote audit, whereby the auditor will thoroughly evaluate your internal audit. Among other things, will involve the use of a live video feed that also provides an image of the production environment.
- Non-conformities identified during the remote audit will be resolved in accordance with the normal procedure, but will not impact upon the grade of your certificate.
- If TÜV NORD Integra decides that your company meets the requirements of the Standard, a new certificate will be issued. The grade on this new certificate will be equal to the grade on your previous certificate. If your previous audit took place unannounced, your new certificate will also display “unannounced”. Your new certificate's expiry date will be calculated in accordance with the same rules as an on-site audit. The certificate will mention that the audit was carried out remotely.
- As soon as your company is accessible again, an on-site GMP audit will take place. This will take place no longer than 6 months after the remote audit. For companies registered for the unannounced audit programme, the GMP audit will take place unannounced.
Possibility of extending the certificate
Extension of the certificate is only possible following a successful remote audit. Situation and info required in order to be able to request postponement, a “remote” audit or extension of certificate These guidelines are applicable to companies that are operational, but are not accessible owing to a travel ban by the local authority due to the coronavirus Covid-19, or due to a justified corporate policy of refusing visitors. For details, we refer to the document BRC072 BRCGS Audits impacted by Covid-19 on the BRCGS website. Click here to read the document.
In the case of surveillance audits: Based on the fact that surveillance audits take place within a specific time window, FAMI-QS is willing to make an exception to the surveillance audit being carried out in order to verify the certification's validity until 31 May 2020. In the event that the surveillance audit cannot be carried out by 31 May 2020, TÜV NORD INTEGRA will suspend the certificate for a period of 3 months. After this period, the certificate will be withdrawn. The suspended or withdrawn certificates will be listed on the FAMI-QS website. In the case of recertification audits: In the event that the company is situated in a 'closed' zone and the certificate is nearing its expiry date, then the certificate will not be extended. For these audits, however, a stage 2 audit can be implemented as the audit date approaches. Certification: No extension will be given for the stage 1 audit carried out for the implementation of the quarantine measures. The stage 1 audit will be repeated with the emphasis on the implementation of the §7 Good Manufacturing Practices.
Audits for FCA can take place at present as long as the hygiene measures issued are strictly respected. If you do not want your company to be audited in the current situation, then please contact your auditor or the office contact. We can then review the possibilities together with you.
If it is not possible to carry out the GLOBALG.A.P. audit due to justified reasons, the certificate can be extended for a maximum period of 4 months. If the certificate had already been extended for 4 months, and due to official reasons (e.g. travel ban imposed by the Ministry) it is not possible to carry out the audit, then the certificate can be extended for a further 4 months on the condition that a successful remote audit takes place. For more information on the conditions, please contact your auditor.
Possibility of postponing the audit and the accompanying consequences
The IFS standards do not impose any sanctions in the event of an audit past the expiry date. The current certificate will expire, but no non-conformity will be recorded in your next audit. Once your company has successfully undergone a new audit, you will get a new certificate. The expiry date for this new certificate will be calculated from the date of the new audit, and will take no account of your expired certificate's expiry date.
Possibility of carrying out a "remote" audit
If a planned audit cannot take place on time due to a travel ban to combat the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), your current certificate will expire. Remote audits are not permitted by IFS. According to the latest info, IFS will review the possibilities for carrying out a remote inspection, but this would not lead to a certificate. As soon as IFS publishes more information on this, we will update this web page.
Possibility of extending the certificate
It is not possible to extend the certificate without an audit.
IFS is working on adapting the database to allow certification institutions to make a note of every certified company where the audit could not take place due to the Coronavirus. As soon as the note is added to the database, a notification will be sent out to all IFS database users who have this company in their Favourites. This functionality will reportedly be available at the end of March. Moreover, expired certificates will remain visible on the IFS database for twelve months. Situation and info required in order to be able to request postponement, a “remote” audit or extension of certificate Not applicable.
The audit can take place remotely if the company agrees to provide the auditor with all the information. This means the auditor must be provided with procedures, work instructions, preparation methods, management reviews, invoices, etc., by post. All documents sent to the auditor will be handled in complete confidence. The audit may take longer than the projected time, given that remote audits are more difficult in practice. The audit may take place by phone/e-mail/Skype or via a combination of these. A memo from the scheme owners regarding Corona can be found with the downloads below.
- The audit can take place remotely if the company agrees to provide the auditor with all the information. This means the auditor must be provided with procedures, work instructions, preparation methods, invoices, GIP transactions, etc., by post. All documents sent to the auditor will be handled in complete confidence. The audit may take longer than the projected time, given that remote audits are more difficult in practice. The audit may take place by phone/e-mail/Skype or via a combination of these.
- In the case of an initial audit: the audit will be postponed as remote auditing is not possible A memo from the scheme owners regarding Corona can be found with the downloads below.