The last Technical Working Group Meeting took place on June 2014 in Oslo, Norway, kindly hosted by DNV GL. See the progress from two days of fruitful meetings.
Competencies, Knowledge Examination and Skills Assessment Update
In 2010, the GFSI Board established this multi‐disciplinary Technical Working Group (TWG) to define generic food safety auditor competencies underpinning all GFSI benchmarked schemes, and the mechanisms by which they could be assessed and verified. The Auditor Competence Scheme Committee (ACSC), as it is now known, has developed a sustainable model for auditor competence assessment, and met in June to further develop the detail.
Integration of Auditor Competence Scheme into the next GFSI Guidance Document: The GFSI Guidance Document TWG is drafting the next edition of the Guidance Document for publication in 2015/2016 and the ACSC will collaborate with the Guidance Document TWG to include the Auditor Scheme Requirements.
The GFSI Auditor Competence Scheme Committee (ACSC) confirmed the four pillars of the GFSI Auditor Competence Scheme and reviewed the status of each during the course of the meeting: competencies, knowledge examination, skills assessment and the Global Food Safety Auditor Foundation.
Updates to the GFSI Food Safety Auditor Competencies that were released in October 2013 are being made by the ACSC to expand the document beyond competencies for the manufacturing sector. The following scopes are currently being developed: Farming of Animals, Farming of Fish, Farming of Plants, Farming of Grains and Pulses, Storage & Distribution, Retail/Wholesale and Food Brokers/Agents. Upon ACSC approval, these sections will be made available for public comment and subsequently validated using an approved process.
Knowledge Examination: The ACSC has selected a professional testing company to develop the knowledge examination. The company will work with a team of 10 – 15 subject matter experts to develop a bank of questions which will form the basis of each exam (~ 150 questions). Exam delivery will be on-line through internationally located test centres.
Skills Assessment: The ACSC reviewed the skills assessment tool and agreed to carry out several modifications. It was agreed that an accompanying skills assessment protocol will be developed, along with the competence requirements.
Formation of the Global Food Safety Auditor Foundation: The ACSC confirmed that, pending financial support, the GFSA Foundation will be created. The foundation will be a not-for-profit business entity that is independent of GFSI. It will be responsible for administering the GFSI Auditor Competence Scheme globally, registering skills assessors and credentialing auditors of GFSI benchmarked schemes based on the outcomes of the knowledge examination and skills assessment.
The GFSA Foundation will also develop and administer an integrity program to monitor the implementation of the GFSI Auditor Competence Scheme.
Pre-qualification: Within the ACSC, there is ongoing discussion around pre-qualification of auditors within the four-pillar framework. It was agreed that no qualifications will be required for auditors to sit for the knowledge exam or skills assessment procedures but acknowledged that they will be required to hold previous industry or auditing experience. The extent of that experience is yet to be determined.