BRCGS has updated their COVID-19 advice. There are now 5 options available:

  1. Regular Onsite Audit
  2. Hybrid Certification Audit
  3. Remote Certification Audit
  4. Risk Assessment – Certificate Extension
  5. COVID-19 Additional Module for Food Sites

See the descriptions and application instructions below. BRCGS has published a flow diagram which may aid with your understanding and decision making. Please note that Unannounced Audits are suspended until 2022 and should only be conducted in extremis. For more information, please see BRCGS089. Currently facilities which have their audits conducted after the audit due date shown on the Certificate do not attract a non-conformance, however after 31 March 2022 this concession will be lifted and all late audits without prior justification agreed with AIB-CS and BRCGS will attract a non-conformance. It is also appreciated that locations which meet the BRCGS definition (see Glossary in Standard) of a Seasonal Site may also face unique challenges. Options are outlines in BRCGS095.

Option 1: Regular Onsite Certification Audit

If you are in a position to receive a regular Certification Audit, we will do all that we can to fulfill that need. We comply with the most stringent COVID-19 requirements. The usual audit and Certification fees apply as per your contract.

Apply for Option 1

  1. Contact us at gfsi@aibinternational.com

Option 2: Hybrid Certification Audit

BRCGS080 allows for the “office audit” to be conducted remotely using ICT and within 28 days the on-site audit will be carried out. The duration will typically be divided approximately 50/50 (e.g. a Standard 2 day audit becomes 1 day virtual and 1 day on-site). It is available across all Standards and all certificate grades but can only be done announced.

The usual audit and Certification fees apply as per your contract.

Apply for Option 2

  1. Review the criteria and preparation guide.
  2. Fill out the Application Form and submit to gfsi@aibinternational.com.

Option 3: Remote Certification Audit

In March 2021, BRCGS updated their BRCGS086 document describing "Remote Audits". This option is available to sites certified to the Food Safety, Start!, Packaging, Storage & Distribution and Gluten Free Standards where access to the site is restricted due to government rules, company policy or travel to the site is not possible for the auditor. It should be noted that whilst all activities are undertaken in line with guidance from the International Accreditation Forum, this methodology does not yet form part of the GFSI benchmark documents. Therefore, before pursuing this option sites are strongly advised to consult with clients or Specifiers.

The entire audit will be conducted remotely, and this includes the site tour. Consequently, facilities are strongly advised to conduct a feasibility exercise before applying for a Remote Audit. The feasibility exercise should consider site safety (i.e. there are environments where items such as cell phones should not be used due to risk of explosion) and practicality (i.e. in noisy environments it may be impossible to interact with the auditor during the site tour, some parts of the site may not be able to receive wireless signals). Sites should note that additional time and therefore fees may be associated with this Remote Audit option due to pre-audit testing of the ICT platforms with the auditor and possible lost time should the ICT platforms fail to work as expected.

The usual audit and certification fees apply as per your contract.

Apply for Option 3

  1. Review the criteria and preparation guide.
  2. Fill out the Risk Assessment application and submit to gfsi@aibinternational.com.

Option 4: Risk Assessment - Certificate Extension

BRCGS have published BRCGS072 guidance of expectations in regards to business impacts from COVID-19. To align with the GFSI position, if the facility or government have a policy in place which prohibits access to the site, BRCGS will allow a 6-month certificate extension based on completion of a risk assessment conducted remotely. Until 1 Jan 2022 Certificates may only be extended once. The facility is expected to arrange a Certification Audit as described under Option 1, 2 or 3 as soon as possible once the certificate is extended. From 1 Jan 2022 if a facility has extended its certificate and has then had a Regular or Hybrid (NB – NOT Remote) audit then if necessary the facility may opt for a second certificate extension under BRCGS072.

The process takes and will cost 0.5 day and there is a BRCGS fee of GBP250.

Apply for Option 4

  1. Review the criteria.
  2. Fill out the Risk Assessment application and submit to gfsi@aibinternational.com.

Option 5: COVID-19 Additional Module for Food Sites

Food Safety certified sites (only) whose recertification audit date is not imminent may wish to give themselves and their clients additional confidence in their quality management systems by conducting an assessment against the COVID-19 Additional Module as described in FAM811 published 9 September 2020. The assessment is conducted remotely and focuses on the impact assessment for COVID-19 and other elements such as emergency supplier approval, vulnerability assessments etc.

The process takes and will cost 0.5 day plus the usual reporting time. There is a BRCGS fee of GBP200.

Apply for Option 5

  1. Review the criteria.
  2. Fill out the Risk Assessment application and submit to gfsi@aibinternational.com.

Questions?
Siarl Siviyer Dixon
BRCGS Certification Manager
AIB International
sdixon@aibinternational.com