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Saturday, 17 November 2012

Marks of a Value-Added Audit System:

What a value-added audit system is, has or does

  It is a deliberate, systematic and recurring assessment mandate and process  that is willingly executed and sufficiently funded by the party requiring it;

  It generates and sustains an atmosphere of trust, friendly collaboration among all parties that stand to gain from its outcomes;

  It is reality-based and therefore unique for every operation since each operation (even with products similar to other operations) has unique situations, circumstances, provisions, opportunities, resourcefulness, work-force, location, etcetera;

  It employs individuals with relevant knowledge, positions, expertise and experience;

  It is conducted by persons who (by employment or contract) are treated and function as part of the audited party’s team;

  It is inherently objective and auditors' biases cannot and do not affect its outcome;  

  It completely and realistically identifies potential risks and opportunities and drives continuous improvement;

  It is outcome-based with inherent flexibility to accept solutions that may fall outside the scope of the prescribed rule but effectively lead to accomplishing at least the same desired outcome if not better;

  It realistically identifies strengths and weaknesses in the operation for the purpose of capitalizing on what is beneficial while improving areas of weaknesses;

  It is efficiently implemented with the benefits derived outpacing the resources invested;

  It is self-evaluating and helps with the expedient elimination of redundancies in the execution of the assessment process itself, and other engagements of the operation such that unnecessary use of resources and unproductive activities are promptly discontinued;

  It provides unmistakable and measurable success pertaining to what it is both designed and intended to address;

  It streamlines documentation requirements and eliminates excessive paperwork burden;

What a value-added audit system is not, does not have or does not do

  It is not mandated or dictated by parties that do not fund its execution and are external (or viewed as outsiders) to the audited party;

  It does not generate or sustain an atmosphere of distrust, uneasiness or animosity between the auditors and the audited parties;

  It is not inherently subjective to the extent of requiring extrinsic controls against auditors' biases;

  It does not employ persons or agencies with financial interests that compete against or overshadow the deliberate intent to efficiently and effectively accomplish its primary purpose;

  It does not have punitive measures (e.g. penalties, fines, withdrawn business or career opportunities, or similar punitive consequences)  which are imposed by outside parties in ways  that encourage the audited parties to hide things from auditors;

  It is not constrained by cost considerations in ways that restrict sufficient time allowance for thorough investigation of real risks and issues;

  It does not constrain auditors to pre-determined sets of standards with meaningless protocols that force auditors to abandon conventional wisdom;

  It is not prescriptive and executed in a way that it consistently focuses on a pre-set list of items;

It does not invariably ask for the same things to be checked from year to year thereby drawing draw attention to things that should not be of concern while preventing sufficient attention to things that should be of concern;

  It is not a one-size-fits-all audit even to the extent that every facility producing the same type of product anywhere is audited with the same pre-determined checklist/standard;

  It is not encumbered by administrative requirements that are mandated and managed at remote locations by persons who are not privy to the realities on-site at the audited party’s location;

  It does not lead to conclusions that project a false sense of satisfaction in any form whether these are unsubstantiated claims, slogans, insignia or certificates;

You should take a close look at your current audit systems (internal or external) individually. How many of these elements apply to each? This shows its value-added rating.

Related workshop presentations are planned for the Toronto SSQA Conference :.

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