FORS restarts on-site audits after Covid-19 pause
FORS has announced that it will resume on-site Bronze auditing for members based in England, following a break in light of Covid-19 restrictions. FORS members in England will once again be able to book Bronze on-site audits from today (Monday 15 June), in line with the lifting of governmental restrictions on travel and work in the country. Whilst operators outside of England will also be able to book audits, the delivery of these will be subject to future easing of local restrictions.
FORS Bronze audits are a fundamental component of FORS – a voluntary accreditation scheme for fleet operators aimed at raising the quality within fleet operations. The Bronze audits verify compliance against the FORS Standard in relation to the management of the fleet operation and its vehicles and drivers. Stringent coronavirus measures have been introduced to ensure the safety of FORS members and auditors during the process.
FORS director, John Hix, said, “We know our members are keen to get back to business, but ensuring the safety of members and auditors as the organisation adjusts to these ‘new normal’ working practices is paramount.” To help manage audits, and in line with government guidelines, FORS has produced COVID-19 Bronze on-site auditing rules and requirements, detailing the steps that auditors and auditees must adhere to so that an on-site audit can go ahead. In order to minimise the risks of transmittal of COVID-19 and until further notice FORS is placing obligations on auditors, audit providers and the organisation receiving the audit.
This includes FORS operators requesting a Bronze on-site audit having to complete a COVID-19 risk assessment, in line with the government guidance on working safely during COVID-19 in offices. John Hix added, “Members in England will need to confirm a variety of measures are in place to limit interaction between individuals during the auditing process, for example providing a single and only point of contact for the audit, as well as arranging for all evidence to be provided in the room where the audit is taking place. “Our rules and requirements are based on information issued by the UK government, but the FORS document is only applicable to England as there are still regional, national and international restrictions that apply which may continue to prevent FORS audits being undertaken in other parts of the UK.”
FORS has been maintaining member accreditation at their current levels since Bronze on-site audits were suspended on 23 March for those with expired accreditations. John Hix said, “We understand these have been – and continue to be – very testing times for everyone in our industry. Road transport has been at the forefront of ensuring supply chains across the UK can continue to deliver, so it is vitally important that we support our operators who have taken great strides in improving standards through FORS and are keen to resume this process.
“Now we are beginning to reinstate auditing, we would encourage members who are able to follow the government guidelines to book and undertake their audits as soon as possible.”