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. The RO’s cost cutting has been passed on to QACE with some pressure put on what is already a conservative budget.
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.