Transition Time Frame and Process

Clarification on Timeline for Initial Certification, Recertification and Transfer Clients:
  1. Existing clients who have had their Stage 1 audit to SA8000:2008 prior to April 1, 2016 may continue the certification process to SA8000:2008 - even if/when their Stage 2 audit is scheduled after April 1, 2016.
  2. Existing clients who have had their Stage 2 audit to SA8000:2008 prior to April 1, 2016 and for whom a decision has not yet been made, or who require additional follow-up/special audits may continue the certification process to SA8000:2008 - even if/when their additional audits or the decision-making process continues after April 1, 2016. 
  3. Transfer clients audits may continue the certification process to SA8000:2008 as these clients already hold certification to SA8000:2008, they may continue with SA8000:2008 up until the later deadline of June 30, 2017.

Transition Audit: How long should the client transition audit take during a routine surveillance audit?

Response:  It is up to the CB to assess this based upon the size of the company and risk. It is thought that the length of the transition audit would extend the length of a routine surveillance audit by between 0.5 to 1.5 days on site.

Transition Audit: Can the client transition audit be conducted during an unannounced audit?

Response:  No, the transition audit may not be undertaken unannounced. The audit must be announced to ensure full participation by employees, senior management, Social Performance Team, and other relevant personnel. If the transition audit is scheduled for a time period for when an unannounced audit would regularly take place, the unannounced audit shall be undertaken at a different time.

Some currently certified organisations may find it difficult to transition to SA8000:2014  – why is there such a short time frame? 

Response: The original timeframe was for currently certified organisations to have until December 31, 2016 to complete the transition process.  This has been revised and extended to June 30, 2017.

What if the certified organisation is ready for an SA8000:2014 audit but the CB has not yet fully transitioned and trained its personnel on new requirements found in Procedure 200 and the Social Fingerprint process? 

Response: With the revised timeframe, CBs may begin conducting SA8000:2014 audits on January 1, 2016, but not before then.  A CB is required to submit their plan of action to SAAS and SAAS shall conduct a document review of the CBs revised policies and procedures before a CB is authorized to conduct SA8000:2014 audits.  In all cases, an accredited CB shall have amended its policies and procedures prior to March 31, 2016 (and have a document review by SAAS) so it can begin delivering SA8000:2014 audits by April 1, 2016 (if the CB is to conduct SA8000 audits of new clients). 
Update: SAAS and SAI have extended the deadline for requiring all new certifications to SA8000:2014 from April 1 to May 15, 2016. This does not change any of the other deadlines for the transition to the new Standard.

What if the certified organisation is due for its SA8000:2014 transition audit but is not ready and/or not compliant with the SA8000:2014 requirements? 

ResponseIf the CB is prepared and able to undertake SA8000:2014 audits but the certified organisation has not fully transitioned to the new requirements, the CB shall still undertake the transition audit. The CB shall issue non-conformities, as appropriate, for the client organisation to address through the corrective actions process.  

When an organisation transitions to SA8000:2014, does the SA8000:2014 certificate start a new certification cycle? 

ResponseIf the transition audit takes place during a regularly scheduled surveillance audit, then no, the organisation should remain on the same certification cycle with the same expiry date.  However, a new certificate shall be issued to SA8000:2014 rather than SA8000:2008. If the transition audit takes place at recertification, then a new certificate shall be issued with the new certification cycle dates.

When will the new system documents, procedures and policies, training and Social Fingerprint platform be published and available? 

Response: The following training and resources are currently available via SAI's website:

  • SA8000:2014 Revision Webinar 2: Social Fingerprint: Training for auditors on Social Fingerprint.
  • Social Fingerprint Rating Chart
  • Guidance for SA8000 Certification Auditors on Social Fingerprint for SA8000: 2014 
  • Social Fingerprint Glossary
Updated: The following documents have been published and are available via SAI or the SAAS website:
  • Procedure 200:2015
  • Procedures 201A and 201B:2015
  • SA8000:2014 Guidance Document
  • Social Fingerprint Self-Assessment for Organisations
Notification 4A, states that parts of SA8000:2014 include minor changes, but the inclusion of Social Fingerprint seems to be a major change. Can you clarify? 

ResponseIt is accurate to say that some elements of the SA8000:2014 have major changes (see Element 9 in SA8000:2014), while other parts of the SA8000:2014 have had very minor or no changes at all from the SA8000:2008 version.  Indeed, the inclusion of Social Fingerprint as part of the audit process does constitute a major change to the system itself.  Social Fingerprint is a set of tools that help organisations measure and improve their management systems for social performance.