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APSCA PROGRESS UPDATE – ENSURING THE PROFESSIONALISM OF SOCIAL AUDITS

In the summer of 2016, we announced that DQS CFS had joined APSCA, an initiative to ensure the professionalism of social compliance auditors. In this article, we would like to provide you with an update on the progress that has been made, as well as the implications for suppliers, buyers and auditors.

What is APSCA?

APSCA (Association of Professional Social Compliance Auditors) is an organisation created to increase the value and effectiveness of independent social compliance audits by enhancing the professionalism and credibility of the individuals and organisations performing them. APSCA’s certification process will ensure auditors have consistent training, education, background checks, and demonstrated competencies, which are standard requirements in comparable professional auditor associations.

Source: www.theapsca.org/aboutus

Why does it matter?

  • If you are a supplier who is being audited: Choosing an audit firm that is a member of APSCA will help ensure that your customers accept the results of the social audit
  • If you are a buyer who relies on social audits to assess the level of social responsibility in your supply chain: Working with APSCA-members enables you to assess the competence level and experience of the audit firms and auditors
  • If you are a social compliance auditor: The new competency framework helps you prove your level of experience and competence

Competency Framework

Since joining the initiative in 2016, DQS has contributed to working groups to create a competency framework to set out the auditor competencies for social audits. These competencies refer to the foundational skills and functional knowledge areas required to conducting a social compliance audit.

There are two levels for APSCA Auditor Membership: CSCA and APSCA Certified Social Compliance Auditor (ASCA).

  • CSCA membership is akin to a lead auditor, who is able to independently conduct and write reports. This level is reserved for auditors who can demonstrate extensive experience with social auditing.
  • ASCA membership, by contrast, can be compared to a co-auditor, who can be part of an auditing team, under the supervision of a CSCA auditor.

Auditor registration

Certification bodies have had a busy summer registering eligible auditors into the APSCA database. There has been an overwhelming response, with over 2,600 auditors having completed the online registration process; 75 % have achieved the registered auditor status, which means they are ready to begin the CSCA exam process.

Auditor exam process

The exam will assess the understanding of basic facts, policies, practices, methods, international human rights treaties and labour standards, local legislation and other regulations. The exam will divided into multiple parts: Part 1 (multiple-choice) and Part 2 (case study) will be available online by the end of October. Part 3 (simulated interview) will be available in the coming months.

What DQS can do for you

DQS applauds the development of APSCA because we feel it is important to harmonize the competencies of social auditors. As a global provider of social compliance audits, we have a wide network of highly skilled auditors available globally.

The above article sourcing from DQS CFS website (https://dqs-cfs.com/2018/09/apsca-progress-update-ensuring-the-professionalism-of-social-audits/). For more information, please send email to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Updates to Standards – Quarter 3

The Quarter 3 issue of Updates to Standards includes information on the following:

  • ISO 50001:2018 Revision
  • SQF Fundamentals
  • BRC Revision
  • ISO 22000:2018 Revision
  • Other DQS Services

The above article sourcing from DQS US website (https://dqsus.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Updates-to-Standards-Q3.pdf). For more information, please send email to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

A CULTURE OF FOOD SAFETY: GLOBAL FOOD SAFETY INITIATIVE PUBLISHES POSITION PAPER

 

 

After 18 months of work, the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) has published its new position paper on a food safety culture. How does it contribute to global food safety?

Whether a company manages to ensure the long-term quality and safety of its products depends to a large extent on the corporate culture and the value system within the organization. However, because topics such as corporate culture are difficult to standardize, they remain in the background for current certification systems such as IFS, BRC and FSSC 22000.

The GFSI now wants to remedy the situation with the new position paper. The document, which aims to help leaders and practitioners in the food industry establish and maintain a culture of food safety, deals with three main topics:

  1. The essential role of executives within an organization in its implementation (a point that also plays a significant role in the revision of ISO 9001: 2015)
  2. Factors such as communication, education, cooperation and personal responsibility
  3. Skills such as adaptability or risk awareness to translate food safety practices from theory to practice.

The authors are aware that they are doing a balancing act between laws and standards that clearly regulate food safety and trying to go beyond the concept of culture. Culture works independently of laws and rather instinctively; the tools and checklists provided are an attempt, based on the experiences of the authors’ companies, to convey how a corporate culture can be promoted and adapted to existing food safety initiatives.

The content of the guide is divided into five chapters that correspond to the five dimensions of a food safety culture; Vision & Mission, People, Consistency, Adaptability, and Hazards & Risk Awareness. Each of these chapters provides detailed information on how to achieve a mature and sustainable food safety culture. For this purpose, key questions and supplementary appendices facilitate access and understanding.

The guide has been put together with two premises in mind: first, the content had to be based on existing scientific facts and, second, it needs to present clear practical relevance with a focus on the most critical areas of food safety. In other words, the purpose of the guide is to provide the most necessary and relevant information for developing a food safety corporate culture.

The full report of the GFSI working group titled “A Culture of Food Safety” can be downloaded here:

The above article sourcing from DQS CFS website (https://dqs-cfs.com/2018/07/a-culture-of-food-safety-global-food-safety-initiative-publishes-position-paper/). For more information, please send email to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

On August 20, 2018 the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has published ISO 50001:2018, the revised management system standard for energy management. The transition period for existing certificates was confirmed to be three years from the publication date.  

DQS, like all other certification bodies is required to stop conducting audits according to the "old" ISO 50001:2011 after February 20, 2020 (18 months after the publication date). This means that certified organizations will have to plan accordingly and should start preparations for transition as soon as possible to assure a smooth transition process.

 The main changes required by the revised standard are:

    • Adoption of the ISO High Level Structure (HLS) for management system standards, ensuring compatibility with ISO 14001 and other ISO management system standards
    • A stronger emphasis on the responsibility of leadership
    • Improved sections on data collection and normalization
    • Some clarification of key concepts related to energy performance

DQS will release its transition policy within the next weeks, defining criteria for competencies and transition process. Additional information is currently being prepared and will be available soon at DQS Holding homepage.

Since its publication two years ago, ISO 37001, the international standard for anti-bribery management systems, has quickly established itself as a crucial tool to combat bribery-related risks. In order to ensure the lasting credibility of ISO 37001 certificates issued by DQS, we have made it a priority to apply for accreditation. We are pleased to announce that DQS is one of the first certification bodies in the world to have passed the accreditation audit.

When we announced in April 2018 that DQS CFS had issued their first ISO 37001 certificate to Vivo Energy, this certificate turned out to be one of first in the world. With the accreditation audit now behind us, we again find ourselves in a pioneering role: only a handful of certification bodies have so far obtained accreditation for ISO 37001.  The accreditation, performed by the German Accreditation Body DAkkS, confirms the competence of DQS CFS to evaluate and certify anti-bribery management systems.

Congratulations to our colleagues at DQS CFS on this achievement. Further information about ISO 37001 can be found in our previous posts and on the website of CFS.

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