November 9, 2021

Non-compliance investigation completed: Report

Global Wind Organisation’s Audit & Compliance Committee has completed an investigation into a chain of non compliance by an auditor, a certification body, and a training provider. Action was taken against all three.

This case offers pointers to how GWO can improve future guidance and how together with training providers, auditors and certifications bodies high quality training can be delivered in the GWO system and similar domino effects avoided. On GWO’s part, the GWO Requirements will be reviewed and further clarification of language provided regarding the specific non-compliance’ points. The disqualification of the auditor from conducting audits resulted from their non-compliance with the GWO Requirements for Certification Bodies. In particular, two failures to conduct the training provider’s Stage I and Stage 2 audits to the correct duration, and the fact that certificates for a fixed training facility and mobile training facility were provided through a single audit at the mobile site.

In addition, the auditor gave insufficient evidence from supporting witnesses that training was conducted at the two locations declared in the audit. Representations from the auditors, certification bodies and training providers to the committee were unfortunately not found to be persuasive. For the auditor re-qualification as a GWO auditor is possible via a further successful completion of GWO’s Auditor Qualification Training (AQT) course.

In this instance the auditors’ nonconformities were not identified by the relevant certification body during their review despite the certification of the relevant training provider occurring after the contract between the auditor and certification body was terminated. To compound this nonconformity no action was taken to address these noncompliant certificates in contradiction to GWO’s Requirements for Certification Bodies guidance. As a consequence, the certification body was temporarily suspended from GWO’s approved list of the certification body pending the presentation and approval of a specific three-point plan to address deficiencies in their management processes.

José Jimenez, GWO Governance and Risk manager:

Ensuring a consistently high level of safety training across the world is something we all share. Unfortunately, sometimes to achieve this and maintain a level playing field for the many excellent providers GWO needs to step in, police poor practices and share learnings that do us all credit to reflect upon.  

There was no suspicion that the training provider in this case was party to, or aware of, the nonconformities arising in their audits. However, in line with GWO Requirements for Training Providers, without a valid audit from a certified auditor they were no longer qualified to deliver GWO training and were removed from our approved list of training providers. For them, like other uncertified training providers, the route to certification is to (re-)apply through an approved certification body and undergo a (repeat) audit process. As with any purchasing decision, this is unfortunately an instance of buyer beware. GWO strongly advise aspiring training providers to review and discuss the GWO Requirement for Training Providers before establishing a contractual relationship with a certification body. High quality training is always, all our responsibilities.