Results of Assessments

  • Results of Assessments

A fundamental question at the end of each assessment year is always whether the Recognised Organisation’s (RO’s) Quality Management System has been adequately tested. QACE’s assessment is that, while the situation must continue to be monitored, the auditing standards are now at a high and consistent standard, a statement that is supported by the other observers of the scheme.

QACE would bring to the attention of its interested parties the following points:

While the ROs continue to demonstrate the very highest levels of competence and professionalism, the downturn in the marine industry business has affected the RO’s with significantly reduced workloads. A number have realigned their services and reduced staffing levels. At the same time, many marine organisations are carrying out similar exercises which may include reducing their technical capability. As a result, the industry can become increasing dependent on the RO’s services. Cost cutting can put pressure on the necessary surveyor support systems and affect areas such as training.

While QACE has not identified specific issues with any of the RO’s the situation is monitored as part of the assessment and questions are raised during the biennial Individual Recommendations meetings.

A final point on the issue is the need for the RO’s to include in their risk mitigation, the necessary flexibility and planning to react quickly, when the market emerges from recession, to have adequate resources in place when new projects are generated and workloads return to previous levels.

Keeping up with the ever-increasing flow of new requirements that must be implemented into the RO’s Rules and instructions is another major influence, that affects the ability of surveyors to get it right first time. QACE Collective Recommendation 4 draws attention to the issue and increasing the effectiveness of how the process is audited.

QACE has these issues at the forefront of its consideration of the assessment of the RO’s management systems.

What is being done with all the information?

In some more detail, when a summary of the assessments is prepared, several points are extracted that are relevant as potential recommendations for improvement to the RO or, as part of a trend across the ROs, as a potential Collective Recommendation (CR), or best practice. Trending items may also be relevant for potential issues to be raised in relation to the QSCS standard. Issues can also relate to opportunities for improvement to be raised with the audit bodies during the annual End-User Workshops.

Collective Recommendations 2018

  • Results of Assessments

1/ The auditing of effectiveness RO’s control over surveyor resources

As a natural reaction to the industries recession and the downturn in work, some of the larger ROs have reorganised and significantly reduced their head-count. Offices have been closed and more surveyors work remote from offices. The recession has also reduced the available revenue which has led to cost cutting and which can put pressure on the available monies and resources to support the highest standards. This comes at a time when many organisations, including flag States, have also reduced their technical capabilities and staff, which might result in an overreliance on the recognised organisations.

There are several related issues that QACE is including in its assessments during 2018, confirmation that locations still have sufficient resources to service the workload and that, when new projects are generated and workloads return to previous levels, that sufficient surveyors will be available, competent and authorised to service the new work. This is particularly relevant to plan approval and new construction surveyors.

QACE is looking for the RO’s to include these issues in their risk mitigation, the necessary flexibility and planning to react quickly, when the market emerges from recession, to have adequate resources in place.

2/ The auditing of the effectiveness of RO’s controls over non-convention ships.

While the responsibility for the standard and safety of ships lie with the owners and flag State, instances have been reported where non-convention ships have been involved in incidents. In some cases, ships, under pressure because of poor maintenance have moved to local, national service, dropping their statutory certification. While the RO’s responsibilities are limited to the classification of these ships, the associated risks should be incorporated into the RO’s fleet management and controls.

3/  The effectivness of the report checking process

With more and more regulatory requirements increasing the complexity of the work it is difficult for surveyors to get the reporting of surveys and audits right first time. Survey checklists have become increasingly important. The ROs reporting and surveyor support systems need to be constantly updated. As a result, reporting errors are a common audit finding, calling into question the effectiveness of the report checking or verification process.

4/  Implementation of Water Ballast Management requirements

The Water Ballast Management (WBM) requirements came into force on 8th September 2017. Which was then extended another two years. A lack of take up of WBM systems is largely due to the costs and difficulties involved and that, provided certain requirements are satisfied, an exemption can be granted by the flag Administration for de-harmonisation of the IOPP Certificate. Examples of submissions indicate common failures. The auditors have been trained in the requirements, the surveying and approval requirements and the evidence that should be expected.