Following the easing of government restrictions on travel and work across parts of the UK, FORS is re-introducing Bronze on-site audits, with stringent coronavirus safety measures in place to protect members and auditors. As of Monday 15 June, FORS members will be able to request a Bronze on-site audit in the usual way, via their dashboard.
To enable on-site audits to resume safely, FORS has produced a COVID-19 Bronze on-site auditing process document, detailing requirements for both the auditors and the auditees. In order to minimise the risks of transmittal of COVID-19, FORS is placing obligations on auditors, audit providers and members receiving the audit, in line with government guidelines and until further notice. Members whose accreditation has expired or is expiring are encouraged to book and undertake their audits as soon as possible providing they are able to follow the government guidelines.
FORS operators requesting an audit will need to have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment in line with the relevant government guidance on working safely during COVID-19 in offices and contact centres. In addition, for the purposes of the FORS audit, members will need to confirm the following at the time of requesting the audit:
- A single and only point of contact will be provided for the audit process
- That clear guidance on the social distancing and hygiene measures that are in place at the audit site will be provided to the auditor
- That any PPE identified in the FORS member’s risk assessment will be provided to the auditor on the day of the audit
- That the audit will be conducted in a well-ventilated designated room that is not occupied by other people
- That all evidence will be provided in the room where the audit is taking place
- That hand sanitiser will be available in the meeting room
- That host responsibilities relating to COVID-19 will be established by the member and that any necessary training will be provided for the person who will be acting as host for the auditor’s visit
- That entry and exit routes for visitors and contractors have been reviewed to minimise contact with other people
Failure to have a COVID-19 risk assessment and to adhere to one or more of the above requirements means that the member cannot request a Bronze audit. Auditors reserve the right to cancel an audit during the pre-check call or on the day of the audit if it becomes apparent that one or more of the above requirements will not be met.
Auditors, and anybody they live with, will not conduct a scheduled audit if they have had symptoms of COVID-19 as listed on the NHS website in the seven days prior to the audit. The auditors will use any PPE required and provided by the organisation being audited and may wear face coverings at their own discretion. They will also of course follow the organisation’s COVID-19 site guidance and restrictions.
We are also developing a temporary remote auditing capability for a number of eligible members alongside the resumption of site-based audits within the current social distancing and workplace guidelines.
For further information on the COVID-19 Bronze on-site auditing process, click here, and for answers to frequently asking questions, click here. Whilst FORS has based its requirements and processes on information issued by the UK government, the FORS document is applicable to England only and there are still regional, national and international restrictions that apply which may continue to prevent FORS audits being undertaken.