April 2021 marked a turning point in the management and expectations of GWO certified auditors with the objective of securing a more consistent quality of audits across the community. Auditors now must successfully complete GWO’s Auditor Qualification Training program, acquiring detailed understanding of what a GWO audit should focus on, and especially on how to verify good training. These changes are in line with the launch of versions ten and eight of the GWO’s Requirements for Training Providers and Requirements for Certification Bodies (respectively) GWO launched version two of the GWO Auditor Qualification Standard.
GWO held 11 online AQT courses in 2021, spread across different time zones to welcome as many auditors as possible from different countries. More than 50 auditors have passed the course and were able to continue auditing training providers By year end the first cycle of training of auditors was nearing completion, those auditors who maintain their AQT status will be enrolled in an ongoing programme for keeping their knowledge up to date.
As well as AQT, GWO recently introduced the requirement for auditors to send full audit reports to GWO using a standard template. This allows easier verification that all steps of certification and recertification audits have been completed and provides insight into the quality of individual audits. Once enough reports have been submitted it is intended to establish benchmarks and feed back to the community regarding typical non-conformities.
The April update of GWO’s Requirements for Certification Bodies was also notable for auditors as they can now only provide auditor services only via certification bodies. In response to the new reality of Covid 19 remote auditing became a permanent feature (with provisos) of the audit portfolio. Further progress on improving audit quality continued during 2021 with GWO’s launch of a revised WINDA platform in September accompanied by revised version (version nine) of the Requirements for Training Providers and (version 11) of the Requirements for Certification Bodies in October.
A total of 11 new certification bodies joined the GWO community in 2021. With the greater availability of remote auditing provided by recent versions of the Requirements for Certification Bodies the physical presence of a certification body in all markets, while a benefit, is no longer a core driver for GWO due to the globalisation of the market.