Onsite Audits During COVID-19

COVID-19 is a challenging time for all of us and SALSA has responded by offering members a more flexible approach to their audit. Whilst we always seek to ensure that audits are positive and supportive experience for our members, there’s no doubt that some people find the thought of an onsite audit daunting at the best of times!

So, how can businesses best prepare for an audit at the moment? Lymn Bank Farm Cheese recently completed a full onsite audit. Gemma Sisson, Company Director, told us, ‘Having a SALSA audit is nerve wracking enough, even without COVID-19!’  However, their careful planning ensured a very positive audit experience.

Prior to an onsite audit SALSA provides clear guidance, including COVID-19 protocol and risk assessment, to the member and the Auditor. Gemma aligned this information with their existing COVID-19 documentation for staff and visitors and used it to help prepare for the hosting the audit.

The auditor was particularly impressed with the ‘audit zone’ that Gemma had created in the Lymn Bank Farm office. This area was appropriately spaced and separated and a “visitor kit” was provided which included a face mask, hand sanitiser, pens and a hairnet.  A computer screen was set up, using a HDMI cable, so that documents could be pulled up for the Auditor to view, without sharing a computer. The Auditor was also provided with clear visitor instructions including information on toilets, plug location and the Wi-Fi code.

Thinking through how the audit would take place in advance, clearly paid off and Lymn Bank Farm were positive about the experience, ‘The guidance provided from SALSA put me at ease and was easily transferable to our existing protocols.  We were comfortable during the audit because the area where it was taking place was controlled by physical barriers and clear advice.  There were no uncomfortable situations regarding face masks and social distancing.’

Lymn Bank Farm work regularly with SALSA Mentor, Liz Rouwenhorst.  Liz’s regular support helped Gemma prepare for the audit. Together they worked through the pre-assessment which ensured Gemma was prepared for her audit and was relaxed about the upcoming audit. Liz told us, “I was positively shocked to see the care that Gemma had taken to ensure personnel and my safety. She went beyond the advice given by Government and SALSA. As I cut the barrier tape into my ‘visitor zone’ I felt confident that the day was going to go well.”

SALSA now offers onsite audits as well as the 3 Stage Audit process. Read the guide on our website  to choose the best fit for your needs and requirements. If you need further help in understanding which option is best for you, then please contact the SALSA Team or discuss with your auditor.