SSAIB has announced publishing its policy statement for COVID-19 Remote Auditing. The policy covers BAFE, British Approvals for Fire Equipment schemes with SSAIB remote auditing procedures in place. A BAFE statement added that they will endeavor to publish information from all BAFE Licensed Certification Bodies as this is made available.
Information from SSAIB:
The following strategy has been implemented to allow continuation of certification services by the SSAIB, during the exceptional circumstances caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic. The strategy is intended to satisfy SSAIB scheme requirements, allowing registered firms to retain their current certification and applicants an opportunity to gain certification.
Overview of Strategy
SSAIB have devised procedures that will allow remote audits to be conducted
SSAIB have devised procedures that will allow remote audits to be conducted. The industry regulators, BAFE, SIA, SCC, NPCC and Police Scotland have agreed that remote audits are acceptable at this difficult time. Remote audits will require a registered or applicant firm to upload to SSAIB the documentation required to assess compliance with the applicable scheme.
On the day of the audit, the firm is contacted by an auditor/audit team by either phone or a web-based video/audio online connection to discuss and review the documentation provided. Following the audit, reports will be generated and emailed to the firm as normal. The report will give details of the areas covered during the audit, along with any ‘Observations and/or Opportunities for Improvement’, as well as a ‘Non-conformity Report’, should any area of non-compliance be identified.
Registered firms to submit regular audits
The above process will enable SSAIB to gather evidence of a company’s compliance or non-compliance with the scheme. In order to maintain registration, registered firms are required to submit to regular audits whether conducted on site or remotely.
Failure to submit to these audits without good cause, acceptable to SSAIB, may lead to the suspension or termination of the registration of the firm concerned.
Where a Remote Audit is Not Possible
The SSAIB policy statement adds that only in circumstances where it is not possible to conduct the audit remotely, the audit will be postponed until such time that restrictions on movement have been lifted and an on-site audit shall be conducted. Unless Government advice prevents, the audit should take place no later than three months after the scheduled date.
Fire Safety & Security Systems - Surveillance Audits
For registered firms who have had an audit in each of the previous two years that included site installation inspections, the results of those site inspections will be taken into consideration, along with other factors, when determining the need, or not, for a return visit to inspect installed systems once social distancing measures and Government advice allows.
Fire Safety & Security Systems - Certification Audits
At the time of writing, it is not feasible to visit the premises of an applicant firm or the premises where they have installed fire safety and/or security systems. In consultation with BAFE, NPCC & Police Scotland, it has been mutually agreed to allow certification of new applicants, while deferring an inspection of the applicant’s premises or installed systems to a later date. All other scheme requirements will apply, as per SSAIB policy statement.
If certification is granted, this will be conditional, dependent on satisfactory inspections of installations, which shall be conducted as soon as practicable when restrictions on movement are lifted.
Management System Certification
Procedures have been put in place to enable most audits to be carried out remotely
Procedures have been put in place to enable most audits to be carried out remotely. This includes recertification and surveillance audits. In some cases, depending on the activities of the registered firm and whether the firm has been audited for those activities (e.g. Security Systems), there may need to be a short follow-up audit when that is possible.
Firms seeking new management system certification should contact SSAIB for further information - as SSAIB will, in most cases, at least be able to start the certification process.
SIA Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS)
SIA-approved contractors may have a partial one-day remote assessment against 28 mandatory indicators. An additional site-based assessment day or days (depending on size of business and scope of activities) will take place once social distancing measures and Government advice allows.
Alternatively, the SIA has allowed all existing Approved Contractors to defer their assessment for a three-month period (this decision will be reviewed on or before July 1, 2020).
Manned Services Schemes
Procedures have been implemented to allow product assessments to be carried out remotely
Procedures have been implemented to allow product assessments to be carried out remotely. There may be a requirement to carry out site visits following a remote product assessment, depending on what activities the organization has been previously assessed by SSAIB for.
If it is not possible to undertake a remote product assessment, the entire assessment will be postponed until social distancing measures and Government advice allows.
Schemes with Remote Auditing Procedures in Place
SSAIB have procedures in place for the following schemes:
- Security Systems (UK)
- Manned Services (UK)
- BAFE SP101 - Portable Fire Extinguishers
- BAFE SP203-1 - Fire Detection & Alarm Systems
- BAFE SP203-4 - Emergency Lighting Systems
- BAFE SP205 - Life Safety Fire Risk Assessment
- ISO 9001
- ISO 14001
- ISO 45001