With many businesses having to put their routine auditing on hold amid coronavirus restrictions, Bureau Veritas is encouraging school, universities and colleges to make use of remote auditing services to maintain the validity of accredited certifications during the pandemic.

It comes as the UK government on 11 May published guidance for employers to help them get their businesses back up and running and workplaces operating safely. The guidelines differ according to working environments including construction sites, factories, shops and offices. They require firms to maintain social distancing in the workplace, strict hygiene practices and home working where possible as well as carrying out a COVID-19 risk assessment with employees or trade unions.

As school, universities and colleges businesses take the time to digest these new guidelines before allowing external contractors on site, certification expert Bureau Veritas is pressing businesses to consider remote auditing to help maintain accredited certifications essential to business operations.

Karolina Lachi Kolarova, Business Unit Director for Certification at Bureau Veritas Certification, said: “Many businesses will no doubt be trying to decipher these eagerly-awaited guidelines on how they can safely exit the coronavirus lockdown. It’s likely that many firms have implemented a ‘phased approach’ to resuming business operations that may only allow essential personnel on site. Therefore, we predict that compliance professionals, for their own safety and that of others, may not be able to conduct site visits for statutory inspections and auditing for many weeks or months to come.

“While it may seem prudent to wait until such restrictions are fully lifted to continue standard inspection and auditing processes, this will not only create a sizable backlog but could compromise the validity of accredited certifications. The good news is that the compliance sector, like many other industries, has done a great job of taking its services online where possible. Hence, we’re encouraging firms to make the most of virtual or remote site visits using video technology and digital file-sharing, which will ensure firms uphold certification essential to running their business during this difficult time.”

For instance, Bureau Veritas can offer remote Management System Audits, covering partly routine audits including surveillance, re-certification and transfer. This involves a risk assessment, followed by remote audits via video link – enabling the firm’s expert auditors to communicate, share and review documents with clients in real time. An audit report will then be issued, complemented by an on-site audit within the next six months to cover any clauses not audited during the remote audit.

Karolina: “We’re doing everything we can to support our new and existing clients to maintain robust, accredited certifications during these unprecedented times and we’d urge them to make use of our new remote auditing service. All our auditors have full access to our systems and a range of tools that can be used for video conferencing, remote calls and screen sharing. This means we are able to conduct stage one audits, surveillance audits, recertification audits (where applicable) and follow up audits – essentially, helping businesses navigate compliance as the coronavirus pandemic evolves.”

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To find out more about Bureau Veritas’ Remote Auditing solutions, call 0345 600 1828 or visit: