Audit Guidance and Requirements

RJC’s Assessment Manual outlines the audit requirements for audits of RJC members against our standards.

 

These requirements have been implemented as part of RJC’s ongoing review and update of the RJC certification system to ensure that the RJC continues to have robust audit requirements and strong management of our auditors. Ultimately this ensures consistent and accurate audits for the RJC and our members.

 

The main elements that members should be aware of are outlined below:

Conduct a self-assessment prior to your audit
It’s really important for members to conduct a self-assessment as self-assessment is the cornerstone to preparing for an audit. It gives you insight to your current conformance levels so that you can identify and correct problem areas in advance. It points to the records and employees that your auditor may want to see, helping you gather relevant materials in advance and make the audit as efficient and effective as possible. And it allows you to accurately define and document your certification scope so that you can submit the right scope information to the RJC.

For more information please see our dedicated webpage on the self-assessment, here.

Guidance for auditors on audit scope
We have guidance to help our auditors decide which members’ facilities to visit during the audit (this is the audit scope). This guidance makes clear – in the case of members who have multiple facilities (factories, stores, warehouses, etc) – the number and types of facilities that should be visited. It gives some flexibility by outlining the factors that auditors need to consider when selecting sites to visit. Please note that there may still be differences between the audit scope requirements of different audit firms.

Member companies aren’t able to choose which sites within their certification scope are visited by their RJC auditor during the audit – this decision is that of the audit firm. However don’t hesitate to ask your audit firm for their rationale for this choice based on RJC guidance, is unclear to you.

Corrective action plan requirements for members on all non-conformances
Corrective action plans are developed by members to outline how they’re going to close non-conformances that have been raised during their audit. Corrective action plans need to ensure the risk is closed, but also that it won’t happen again in future. For example, if chemicals are found during an audit without the right safety equipment to be used when handling it, the member needs to not only provide the right equipment (gloves, for example) but also implement a procedure (checklist perhaps) to ensure that the next time a delivery of this or another chemical is made, the right safety equipment is provided to staff to handle the chemical. RJC requires members to have a corrective action plan for all non-conformances found. And they need to be approved by your auditor.

If you have any non-conformances, you’ll need to develop a corrective action plan (CAP) for each non-conformance – this is required within one month of the audit. These will need to be:

  • realistic
  • fit for purpose
  • closed by your re-certification audit (if not, it will be escalated to a major non-conformance and you’ll only be able to be RJC certified for one year).

Here is an example of what a corrective action plan needs to include:

Requirement of members to close all non-conformances before your next audit
As we’ve said, it’s important for members to close all non-conformances and a Corrective Action Plan gives you the tools to do this. If a minor non-conformance is still open at the next re-certification audit (or mid-term review), and no steps have been taken to correct it, this minor non-conformance will be escalated to a major non-conformance. Remember that a major non-conformance results in only 1 year of certification.

 

Once you accept the findings, your auditor will send the RJC a summary report, which includes the audit findings and the auditor’s recommendation for issuing an RJC certificate.

Requirement for members to provide previous audit reports to your auditor
Members must make available to the auditor any previous audit reports for any existing certifications. Also, should a member select a different audit firm to the one who conducted their last audit, the member must make available to the new audit firm a copy of their previous audit report, including any corrective action plan and any other associated documentation.
Harmonisation and recognition of existing certifications
Following the publication of the 2019 RJC COP Standard we have updated the list of standards and certifications in alignment. In addition, we have added guidance for our auditors on how to verify members existing certifications – this includes reviewing any audit reports for these certifications and any non-conformances that have been raised through these other certification programmes.

To read more about the RJC’s Assurance framework, please click here.

If you have any questions or enquiries, please click here to contact the RJC management team.

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