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Farm Assurance and other Official Visits


What is happening with farm assurance visits?


Red Tractor

From Wednesday 25th March, Red Tractor have suspended all physical inspections until further notice. In order to maintain certification and/or to maintain a Red Tractor Licence, the certification body will, in accordance with UKAS requirements and in line with BRCGS, require that an announced remote assessments/TC takes place.

The link to the updated position in the Covid-19 hub on the RTA website is here.
 
https://assurance.redtractor.org.uk/contentfiles/Farmers-7085.pdf?_=637206600290507095

QMS

A remote/desktop assessment programme has been implemented and will involve documents being submitted via post or e-mail. This will ensure that members certification continues seamlessly in these exceptional circumstances.   Businesses will get their physical assessment in due course and when appropriate to ensure full certification.  Any queries for QMS should be directed at info@qmscotland.co.uk  

On Monday 22 June QMS announced it was launching a gradual return to physical assessments starting from 28 June. QMS aim to do this in a way which limits physical contact by requesting farmers/crofters submit documents digitally. There will also be risk assessments prior to visits to determine if there are any vulnerabilities which must be taken into account. The QMS release on this can be found here: https://www.qmscotland.co.uk/news/gradual-return-physical-quality-assurance-assessments-introduced

QMS have published a Frequently Asked Question document on farm assurance issues resulting from COVID-19, this can be found here: https://www.qmscotland.co.uk/sites/default/files/20200403_faqs_assurance_schemes_v01.pdf


RSPCA

Freedom foods are carrying out remote audits, requiring members to send electronic versions of documents and videos of areas of the farm they need to see.

Scottish Quality Crops

Scottish Quality Crops (SQC) have said that they will be doing audits remotely rather than through physical farm inspections. This will involve documents being submitted via post or e-mail to ensure that members certification continues in these exceptional circumstances. Businesses will then get their physical assessment in due course and when appropriate to ensure full certification.  For further details contact SQC directly.  See:  http://www.sqcrops.co.uk/find-sqc/

For those who have not yet had their annual SQC farm audit, needed to maintain certification, SQC has worked closely with Lloyds, the scheme certification body on remote virtual interactive audits.  These are being launched during the week beginning 13 April.  Your assessor will be in contact.
 
As a replacement for the normal SQC Sprayer Operator courses, SQC is working with Ringlink, the scheme training contractor.  The objective will be to run virtual interactive video courses.
 
Some growers have expressed concern over the use of paper passports, wanting to avoid driver contact. SQC did propose electronic alternatives, however the cereal industry wanted to retain paper passports for the moment.  Although paper, like parcels, is not deemed to present a significant risk, normal COVID-19 precautions should be taken to avoid coming within 2m of the driver and hand cleansing should take place.
 
If you have run out of current passports you will not be able to get additional books.  Tell your normal contact at Lloyds that you need more passports.  They will email you a passport on request and you can copy this on farm as required.


Scottish Organic Producers Association (SOPA)
SOPA have suspended all OF&G Scotland organic farm inspections and audits until further notice. A self assessment procedure will be introduced as an interim measure to ensure integrity of organic produce is maintained. Further information can be found at www.sopa.org.uk


Soil Association
The Soil Association has introduced additional protocols in light of COVID-19, to address associated risks and to help licensees with continued certification and customer service. All physical inspections have been suspended until further notice and will be replaced by a self-assessment tool. More information can be found at
https://www.soilassociation.org/certification/certification-updates/2020/march/26/covid-19-audits-and-certification/



 


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