Suspension of Bureau Veritas Certification by BRC Global Standards will apply from 11 December until 11 February.
David Brackston, operations director at BRC Global Standards, said action was delayed to allow sites with audits already booked to have them without the risk of going out of certification.
“BRC GS are closely monitoring and reviewing these audits to ensure these are of the high standard we expect. BRC GS are working actively with sites that have an audit after this date to find an alternative certification body to undertake their audit.”
Monitor performance to protect integrity
Brackston said it has a programme for monitoring performance of certification bodies licensed to carry out audits against its standards.
“We take immediate action if a serious issue is identified and also collate the results every six months to give an overall performance score (KPIs) expressed as a star rating (one to five stars) for each certification body,” he said.
“In the case of Bureau Veritas there was no single incident but an accumulation of issues which translated to a two star grading which is an unacceptable overall performance to deliver BRC GS audits.
“It is very unusual to need to suspended a certification body and is a decision not taken lightly not least because of the challenges for all affected, however this demonstrates that the integrity of the BRC GS certification schemes has to come first.
“BRC GS is working very closely with Bureau Veritas to ensure retraining of key staff. A new workflow management programme is also being extended to include all BRC audits to improve tracking and administration issues.”
BRC monitors all certification bodies that carry out audits against its standards.
This includes reviews of audit reports, independent audits by its experts of certificated sites, visits to watch audits being done and analysis of data on durations, auditor registration, audit and certificate issue times.
BRC added this scrutiny was ‘fundamental’ to ensure confidence in audits and certificates.
Fabien Joly de Bresillon, certification technical director at Bureau Veritas, previously told us that the suspension is global and clients have been informed.
“The current suspension for Bureau Veritas neither has any impact on the validity of existing certificates, which remain valid and active on the BRC Directory, nor questions its integrity.
“At this stage, our focus remains on working closely with BRC Global Standards to review current processes, address any concerns and take swift corrective action in order to re-establish our industry leading standards.”
BRC notified the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS), the UK national accreditation body, of its intention to suspend Bureau Veritas.
The role of UKAS is to check organisations providing conformity assessment services (CAS) such as certification, testing, inspection and calibration are meeting a certain standard of performance.
The BRC Global Standards schemes for Food Safety, Packaging and Packaging Materials, Storage and Distribution and Agents and Brokers and Consumer Products are accredited by UKAS against ISO/IEC 17065: 2012 (Conformity assessment – Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services).
“Whilst UKAS provides assessment services for certification bodies seeking to provide accredited certification for the BRC standards, UKAS does not have any influence or part to play in proposed decisions on recognition and/or sanctions undertaken by the BRC for the Global Standards schemes,” the accreditation body told us.
“Such decisions are made entirely by BRC and any enquiries relating to the status of recognised certification bodies or sanctions applied regarding the Global Standards schemes should be directed either to BRC or the certification bodies themselves.”