Dealing with BRCGS Non Conformities in Audit

Dealing with BRCGS Non Conformities in Audit

In this video, we will explore strategies for effectively managing non conformities identified during BRCGS audits. We also examine the roles of the facility and the auditor and explore how a collaborative approach can lead to a more positive and productive audit experience.

BRCGS audits and their non-conformity findings can be a source of stress for both facilities undergoing the audit and the auditors themselves. While identifying non-conformities is essential for maintaining high food safety standards, it’s optional for everyone involved.

It’s important to remember that auditors are obligated to identify non-conformities. Don’t view their findings as a personal attack. More non-conformities translate to more corrective actions for them to review, ultimately increasing their workload.

Facilities should feel empowered to challenge non-conformities that seem unreasonable. Engaging in a respectful dialogue benefits everyone. Auditors themselves have admitted to instances where initial non-conformity calls stemmed from misunderstandings. By openly discussing these situations, unnecessary paperwork can be avoided.

▶️ There are three main advantages to engaging in a professional discussion about non-conformities:

• Preventing Future Issues: By addressing a questionable non-conformity, you can help improve the auditing process for everyone in the long run. This collaborative approach ensures a clearer understanding of the standards and reduces the likelihood of similar issues arising at other facilities.

• Maintaining a Streamlined Quality Management System: Accepting unnecessary non-conformities can lead to a cumbersome and bloated quality management system. Each year, as unchallenged non-conformities accumulate, the system becomes more challenging to manage, consuming valuable time and resources that could be better directed elsewhere.

• Mutual Learning: A professional and open debate creates a valuable learning opportunity for the facility and the auditor. This two-way exchange ensures a clear understanding of the standards and the rationale behind each non-conformity, fostering continuous improvement.

▶️ While a healthy debate is encouraged, there comes a point where the auditor’s decision is final. If you’re still not satisfied with the outcome, you have recourse:

• Raise Concerns at the Closing Meeting: Don’t hesitate to discuss your concerns with the certification body during the closing meeting. They can conduct an independent review to ensure a fair and objective outcome.

• Formal Appeal Process: You can submit a written appeal within seven days of receiving your certification decision for a more formal route. This process allows for a further independent review by the certification body.

The BRCGS standards require auditors to inform you of non-conformities as they’re identified during the audit, not solely at the closing meeting. If this doesn’t happen, highlight it to the auditor, as it violates BRCGS protocol.

Even if you address a non-conformity during the audit and take swift corrective action, the auditor may still include it in the final report. It’s important to understand that auditors are not obligated to remove valid non-conformities simply because they’ve been corrected promptly.

While pressuring them to do so is inappropriate, taking immediate action to rectify the issue is always a good practice. Ultimately, the auditor can decide how to proceed at the closing meeting, considering the corrective actions taken and the severity of the non-conformity.

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Monday, 17 June, 2024

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