In the summer of 2016, we announced that DQS CFS had joined APSCA, an initiative to ensure the professionalism of social compliance auditors. In this article, we would like to provide you with an update on the progress that has been made, as well as the implications for suppliers, buyers and auditors.
What is APSCA?
APSCA (Association of Professional Social Compliance Auditors) is an organisation created to increase the value and effectiveness of independent social compliance audits by enhancing the professionalism and credibility of the individuals and organisations performing them. APSCA’s certification process will ensure auditors have consistent training, education, background checks, and demonstrated competencies, which are standard requirements in comparable professional auditor associations.
Why does it matter?
- If you are a supplier who is being audited: Choosing an audit firm that is a member of APSCA will help ensure that your customers accept the results of the social audit
- If you are a buyer who relies on social audits to assess the level of social responsibility in your supply chain: Working with APSCA-members enables you to assess the competence level and experience of the audit firms and auditors
- If you are a social compliance auditor: The new competency framework helps you prove your level of experience and competence
Since joining the initiative in 2016, DQS has contributed to working groups to create a competency framework to set out the auditor competencies for social audits. These competencies refer to the foundational skills and functional knowledge areas required to conducting a social compliance audit.
There are two levels for APSCA Auditor Membership: CSCA and APSCA Certified Social Compliance Auditor (ASCA).
- CSCA membership is akin to a lead auditor, who is able to independently conduct and write reports. This level is reserved for auditors who can demonstrate extensive experience with social auditing.
- ASCA membership, by contrast, can be compared to a co-auditor, who can be part of an auditing team, under the supervision of a CSCA auditor.
Certification bodies have had a busy summer registering eligible auditors into the APSCA database. There has been an overwhelming response, with over 2,600 auditors having completed the online registration process; 75 % have achieved the registered auditor status, which means they are ready to begin the CSCA exam process.
Auditor exam process
The exam will assess the understanding of basic facts, policies, practices, methods, international human rights treaties and labour standards, local legislation and other regulations. The exam will divided into multiple parts: Part 1 (multiple-choice) and Part 2 (case study) will be available online by the end of October. Part 3 (simulated interview) will be available in the coming months.