Accreditation Audit Methodologies
To add more credibility to the SA8000 certification system, SAAS is considering adopting additional tools to be used in quality assurance techniques. SAAS has been researching alternative accreditation audit methodologies and has developed the validation assessment as an additional audit type. The validation assessment is direct assessment by the Accreditation Body (SAAS) of a certified organization to determine the effectiveness of the certified management system. The development of alternative audit methods is part of a larger comprehensive move toward performance based approach to accreditation and certification. This program will be piloted this year and may be used to investigate a complaint or specific concern in an industry or region
Client Manager Program
SAAS, as an accreditation agency, is seeking to improve the effectiveness of managing its accredited certification bodies (CBs) by using client managers who will, in coordination with and under the authority of the SAAS Head Office, be responsible for coordinating accreditation audit activities and managing the quality control for such activities required for a specified CB. SAAS expects that, at the end of this pilot, SAAS client managers will have added value to the accreditation process and assisted SAAS in more effectively managing client CBs and in improving the delivery of accreditation services provided to those clients.
Auditor Recruitment and Training
As part of its commitment to expand the diversity, location and depth of experienced auditors, SAAS has been actively recruiting and training additional accreditation auditors to undertake accreditation audits. Accreditation auditors perform audits on behalf of SAAS, conducting office audits and observations of certification audits. The goal of the audit is to verify that the documented auditing system is effectively implemented by the CB. It is in the best interest of SAAS and the accredited CBs to have a number of qualified auditors including broad geographic coverage and language capabilities by those auditors qualified to conduct accreditation audits.
In order to maintain quality, SAAS has established policies, requirements and qualification and training processes for auditors. SAAS identified accreditation auditor candidates, providing training and approval for observations and participation as team auditors. Continued training, calibration, technical reviews and evaluations are a part of the qualification and monitoring process for all auditors.
Scope of Accreditation
SAAS has recently been collecting data from the CBs that will allow SAAS to better track the scope of SA8000 activity and the offices that manage it. This data shows the relationships that each CB has with their subsidiary offices and what role these subsidiaries have in conducting SA8000 activity. SAAS will use this information to provide a more holistic approach in oversight and enable more transparent information on the auditing companies.
Calibration meetings for SAAS accreditation auditors and staff are an important tool for improving the quality and consistency of accreditation activities. The goal of these meetings is to maintain audit consistency and quality for oversight of the certification bodies. Such meetings cover topics including:
- audit reports
- management of CARs
- BSCI auditing
- SA8000 scope
- multi-site auditing
- auditing complaints
- and interpretation of SA8000.
These meetings have proved to be incredibly valuable, providing insight and clarification for both new and experienced auditors. SAAS has continued this process, convening sessions on topics including stakeholder engagement, living wage, and other issues.