A personal message to clients from CARES Chief Executive Officer:
As we all continue to come to terms with the extended disruption to our normal business relationships, it is important to keep you updated on the steps we are taking to maintain confidence in the services provided to you by CARES during the pandemic.
While almost all assessment and auditing activities continue to be conducted by CARES assessors remotely, in due course it will be inevitable that there will be occasions when individual CARES team members will come into direct contact with our business partners. I know you will do your utmost to observe the relevant social distancing protocols, and other steps recommended by the authorities in your market, as we both share the overriding priority of maintaining the health and safety of our people.
A level of personal contact will inevitably begin to pick up as a limited easing of restrictions is introduced in some markets in the coming period. I want to make clear to you today that CARES will observe all the scientific and regulatory advice, as it relates to each market. This means almost all CARES engagement with you will continue on the basis of ‘non-standard’ assessment and audit. The Certification Body (CB) community has collectively been working hard during the crisis to maintain confidence in product assurance for a wide range of goods entering multiple supply chains.
Inevitably, the use of non-standard and remote auditing techniques has raised a number of questions. I want to reassure you that the relevant Accreditation Bodies – UKAS and SAC - in our sector are assessing CBs, such as CARES, using remote assessment techniques to ensure standards are maintained. Regulators are also issuing guidelines on the use of remote assessment. In short, there is no let-up in the need to maintain the highest possible standards in product assurance and audit.
There will, however, be a significant build-up of necessary further audit work as we move on through the year. CARES is constantly reviewing its live assessment plans as they relate to each client; key dates in relation to planned assessments, audit and certification are aligned with unknown variable factors, including the likely dateof any easing of restrictions. This is a ‘live’ constantly updating plan and we will continue to refine it during the remainder of April, May and June as we look ahead to the second half of 2020, when I am sure we all hope, and expect, to see a lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.
I want to reassure you that we have retained the full complement of CARES assessors, who are actively engaged in remote assessments, together with key support staff who are critical to ensuring a smooth restoration of normal services when the crisis ends. At that point there will undoubtedly be a significant increase in demand for CARES services for which we are preparing now.
This is an unprecedented time for all on a scale few of us have seen in business. What is critical is maintaining the strength of our relationship with each other, and confidence in the roles that we will continue to play as we help each other through this very challenging time.
If you have any questions you can contact CARES at any time via firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope you and all your colleagues keep safe during this very difficult time. Thank you.
Keep well, stay safe, take care,