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Unannounced audit -- audit cycles


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#1 saucy

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Posted 15 September 2015 - 02:25 PM

SQF changes effective in July 2014 included unannounced audits. I have a question about the 3-year "audit cycles" in the policy so that I can know whether we are required in our next recertification audit.

 

We have been certified to SQF for a few years. We had our recertification audit March 2014, before the change. Going forward, I had assumed that would give us 2015, 2016, and 2017 to choose unannounced audit. But I could be wrong. We may have to do this at our recertification audit in 2016? Below is from the SQF Final Rule:

 

11. If a supplier had their first certification audit in November 2012 and November 2014 will be their third cycle, does this audit need to be unannounced or is the unannounced audit something that is going into effect starting with 2014 and moving forward.

The unannounced audit requirement will begin with the implementation of the SQF Code, edition 7.2 on July 3, 2014. That means that the first three certification cycles would be 2014 - 2017 regardless of their initial certification audit date.

 

Forgive my confusion between audit dates and audit cycles. Can anyone tell me whether we will be required to do unannounced audit in 2016? Or is 2017 still on the table?



#2 ladytygrr

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Posted 15 September 2015 - 08:24 PM

Saucy,

 

Not sure if I'm linking to the same document you pulled from but I found some information on SQF's website. Click here to link to the full document.

 

I'm reading it as your very first certification audit date (say March 15th, 2014) is also when your audit cycle starts. The window for your subsequent audits (regardless of whether it's announced or unannounced) is the anniversary of your initial certification audit +/- 30 days, giving you a(n approximate) 60 day window. You should have had an audit around March 15th, 2015, also, and I would have expected your CB to ask you then what year you wanted your unannounced visit. 

 

In the main body of the document, it states:

 

vii. The unannounced audit year shall be determined between the supplier and certification body.

 

Coincidentally, #8 under the FAQs seems to match your situation perfectly: 

 

After a site has undergone an unannounced audit, when does the unannounced audit period “reset?” The site will receive one unannounced audit with three (3) audit cycles. Therefore, the unannounced audit period resets after the completion of three (3) certification cycles. For example, if 2014 is the first year of the supplier’s audit cycle, then one (1) unannounced audit will be conducted within the time period between 2014 and 2017. The next time period in which an unannounced audit would occur for this site is from 2018-2021.

 

So it looks like you need to contact your CB to determine whether you want your unannounced audit to be in 2016 or 2017.

 

I think they made this more confusing than necessary. It's really a 4 year cycle. You have your initial audit and then your unannounced can be any of the next 3 years. On the 4th year after your initial audit, it resets. So, I understand from the example above 2018 is an announced year and you can pick from 2019, 2020, or 2021 for your unannounced audit.Why not just say every X year is an unannounced one within that 60 day window of your anniversary? Definitely more confusing than necessary but your CB should be able to work with and give you guidance on this, too.

 

Hope this helps!

 

~Emily~

 


Once in a while you get shown the light, in the darkest of places if you look at it right. -Grateful Dead

 


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#3 saucy

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 03:05 PM

I am attaching a document among the training materials at the last SQF international conference. It diagrams audit cycles and does seem to simplify. With Emily's interpretation also, I believe that because our first re-certification audit after the effective date of version 7.2 was March 2015, I can choose between March 2016 and March 2017 for my unannounced audit.



#4 saucy

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Posted 18 September 2015 - 03:09 PM

Attached File  SQF Unnanounced audits training materials.pdf   1.13MB   44 downloads

 

Okay, I will try that again.

 

I am attaching a document among the training materials at the last SQF international conference. It diagrams audit cycles and does seem to simplify. With Emily's interpretation also, I believe that because our first re-certification audit after the effective date of version 7.2 was March 2015, I can choose between March 2016 and March 2017 for my unannounced audit.

 
 


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#5 kmk

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 01:50 PM

Since you're audit cycle is in March you will undergo an unannounced audit in either 2015 (likely you've already been through your audit in March for this year), 2016 or 2017.  You will not choose which year it will occur.  Your Certification Body will choose for you and they may call you to cancel your scheduled audit and then you'll know that you're in for an unannounced audit for the that year.  + or - 30 days of your certification date.  They may also just show up if it's happening before your scheduled audit date.  I was told by my auditor last year that it could occur on a weekend, if you are in operation normally on a weekend.  The unannounced audits will occur one time out of every 3 years and you will not know which year it will occur and you cannot schedule it for a certain year.



#6 esquef

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Posted 23 September 2015 - 08:46 PM

Your Certification Body will choose for you and they may call you to cancel your scheduled audit and then you'll know that you're in for an unannounced audit for the that year.  + or - 30 days of your certification date.  They may also just show up if it's happening before your scheduled audit date.  I was told by my auditor last year that it could occur on a weekend, if you are in operation normally on a weekend.  The unannounced audits will occur one time out of every 3 years and you will not know which year it will occur and you cannot schedule it for a certain year.

 

We had our unannounced SQF re-certification audit last February. Per SQF the year of the three year cycle to be an unannounced audit is to be determined between the company being audited and the CB:

 

"The protocol now includes the ability for the certification body (CB) and supplier to identify the unannounced audit year, additionally there are provisions for

the CB to prevent the unannounced audit year from being scheduled for the first re-certification audit."



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