In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, MarinTrust invoked its Process on Handling Remote Audits and published a COVID policy in April 2020. These procedures have been reviewed on a regular basis and updated accordingly to ensure their relevance.
However, under the MarinTrust Programme current procedures, new applicants remain unable to be remotely audited in order to gain certification, an agreed approach due to the potential risk to the assurance of the MarinTrust Programme and the limitations of Accreditation Body recognition of remote auditing within the scope of accredited Certification Bodies.
As the need for remote auditing continues, MarinTrust has been working hard to overcome these challenges and has developed guidance documents and procedures to allow a process by which new applicants may be audited on a partially remote basis via an ‘enhanced remote audit’.
This approach is currently undergoing rigorous pilot testing with Certification Bodies to ensure its effectiveness and robustness. This process relies on external factors as it requires support from applicants and Certification Bodies, as well as full acceptance by Accreditation Bodies.
In the enhanced remote audit we aim to put in place, the experienced MarinTrust approved auditor would lead and conduct the audit on a fully remote basis. A local auditor, who would also be an ICT trained professional and meet the requirements outlined in the ‘Enhanced Remote Audit Guidance’, would attend the audit onsite with the main duty of giving support to the lead auditor as their “eyes, nose and ears”.
Maintaining a physical third-party presence during the enhanced remote audit mimics as much as possible a fully onsite audit and would provide assurance to stakeholders that the integrity and robustness of the programme is being upheld.
We endeavour to adjust our procedures in these challenging circumstances. We have focused all our resources to provide a solution to current needs. There will be a follow up regarding the progress that we make on the enhanced remote audit.