Step 2 – Audit

The RJC system to accredit audit firms is designed to ensure that auditors have appropriate experience and expertise when auditing our members.

To conduct your RJC audit

  • You must contact and hire an RJC accredited audit firm (list available from the link below). Audit firms are service providers and we recommend you contact several to find the best arrangement for your business. Audit costs will vary depending on the size of your company, the types of risks you have and the areas of operation.
  • When booking your audit, please confirm the availability of local auditors in your area with your preferred audit firm. Local accreditation (auditor coverage) does not always mean that the firm has a local auditor present. A lack of local auditors may contribute to audit costs.
  • Once you have chosen an audit firm, send them your completed self-assessment. The audit firm will then decide which sites to visit (this is the 'audit scope').
  • Arrange a suitable date with your audit firm. Auditors get booked up quickly (generally three months in advance), so plan ahead to complete the audit before your certification deadline (you have two years from joining the RJC to get certified).
  • If your company has two or more sites, all audit activities must be completed within four months of the first day of the audit.
  • During the audit, your auditor will verify that your company conforms with the RJC COP provisions.

Please note the information you'll need to provide your auditor:

  • Your completed self-assessment
  • Information on your certification scope - with confirmation from RJC as necessary
  • Any other information needed to identify your certification and audit scope such as org chart, licences, etc.

What to expect from your RJC audit

Pre-auditDuring the auditPost auditQu’attendre de l’audit (video)Che cosa attendersi dalla verifica (video)

  • In order to develop a schedule for the audit, your chosen audit firm will usually ask you for some information about your company in terms of business activities, location of facilities, number of employees and usually a copy of your self-assessment.
  • This helps the auditor to better understand your company and develop a workplan for the audit, in terms of which sample of sites to visit, and which topics to cover at each site and allocated time per topic.
  • The date(s) and times of the audit activities will be agreed with you in advance of the audit.
During your audit, the RJC auditor will:

  • Start the audit with an opening meeting, to confirm the objectives of the audit and the schedule of activities during the audit
  • Conduct a walk around of your facility to better understand the business operations and to look at how certain policies and procedures, such as health and safety and environmental management, are being implemented in day to day activities and whether they conform with the requirements of the RJC COP
  • Conduct interviews with coordinators/managers/directors who have responsibilities for the issues covered by the RJC COP to understand how they are managed across the business for example: CSR or sustainability
  • Conduct interviews with a sample of employees/workers chosen at random to assess whether the policies and procedures are being followed. These meetings are done confidentially, without the presence of management.
  • Review documentation such as policies, written procedures and records of activities. The auditor can look at these in any format (paper or electronic), just ensure they are easily accessible on the day of the audit. Below are some examples from different provisions of the material your auditor may wish to review. Please note that your auditor may ask to see records selected by them at random. See examples below:

- Non-discrimination (provision 20)

Possible documents your auditor may wish to review
  • A policy and any procedures for ensuring no discrimination in the workplace
  • HR (human resources) records for employee hiring and promotion, including hiring and promotion forms, HR database
  • Records of grievances raised by employees relating to discrimination
  • Evidence that your staff are informed and trained in discrimination eg training materials, attendance sheets or certificates, company briefings, manager handbooks
  • Analysis by nationality of employees (lists are sufficient)
  • Analysis of equality of wages for men and women (comparing the two)

- Health and safety (provision 21)

Possible documents your auditor may wish to review

  • Records of the local applicable law for health and safety, including: a legal register, legal bulletins from a third party legal service, government guidance documents, legal committee briefings
  • Industry standards for health and safety and evidence for how they’re being followed
  • Policies and procedures for ensuring safe and healthy working conditions
  • Safety training records and procedures
  • Records of safety-related incidents and the actions taken to prevent them from happening again
  • Interviews with employees and on-site contractors (showing how procedures and systems work in practice)
  • Procedures for handling fire emergencies and emergency evacuations
  • Records of your fire and emergency evacuation tests, including health and safety meeting minutes and test reports
  • Procedures for handling accidents and emergencies
  • Evidence that your relevant staff are informed and trained in first aid, fire marshalling and emergency evacuation, eg training materials, attendance sheets or certificates, company bulletins, newsletter articles
  • A list of trained employees at each site responsible for handling accidents and emergencies, including fire safety
  • Records of any hazards and risks raised by employees and contractors

  • Conduct a closing meeting to discuss the audit findings and next steps.

  • For all minor and major non-conformances identified during the audit, you must provide a suitable corrective plan within 1 month of the closing meeting to the lead auditor for approval.
  • Depending on the nature of the minor non-conformances, you can provide your auditor evidence of corrective actions taken for verification within 1 week of the closing meeting. All other corrective actions will be verified during the mid-term review
  • The auditor will prepare an audit report for you detailing the objectives, scope, methodology and audit findings. The report will also include a recommendation for certification. You are required to review and approve this report before it is sent to RJC for review and issuance of certification.
  • Audit firms must submit the audit report to RJC within 2 months of the closing meeting, including unapproved reports and reports without approved corrective action plans.

If your audit firm has not communicated information clearly to you, please let them know in advance of the report being finalised.

Tips on contacting RJC accredited audit firms

  • Contact as many audit firms as possible from the list available from the link below – however ensure that the audit firm is accredited to audit your type of business and in your country. Please contact the RJC using the details below if you are unclear on this.
  • Feel free to negotiate the best price – even on re-certification audits. Speak to a number of audit firms to find the best arrangement for you
  • Audit firms are a service provider, please remember you can ask for what suits you, including a more experienced auditor
  • Completing the RJC audit as part of customer expectations such as for Signet, to demonstrate conformance with the Signet Responsible Sourcing Protocols (SRSPs)? Don’t forget to tell your auditor about this when planning the audit – they need to know this information in advance to ensure they allocate enough time during the audit to fulfil the SRSP requirements.
  • Prepare! Complete your self-assessment as thoroughly as possible to ensure there are no unexpected surprises on the day/s of your audit and make sure all the relevant documents and people are readily available on the day of the audit. We recommend at least three months to complete the self-assessment.
  • Arrange a suitable date with your audit firm. Auditors get booked up quickly (generally three months in advance), so plan ahead to complete the audit before your certification deadline
  • Is a mid-term review required as a result of your audit findings? Don’t forget to ask your auditor to fully explain what you should expect from the mid-term review audit. Be sure to close out your non-conformances and arrange with your auditor to have your mid-term review audit (desktop or site visit) completed before the deadline
  • If in doubt, speak to the RJC! Contact details below.

Selecting a RJC accredited audit firm

RJC aims to develop a wide range of audit firms with relevant experience across a breadth of operating regions. The pool continues to grow and we welcome interest from potential audit firms to expand the availability for members.

Need some help?

The RJC has a dedicated training desk to help you understand the Certification journey and prepare for your audit. Simply call the RJC London office on +44 (0)207 321 0992 or click the button below to get in touch via email.