ASI Oversight Mechanism
ASI carries out a range of oversight activities for the ASI Certification Program to support rigour and integrity. These are collectively known as the ‘ASI Oversight Mechanism’.
Drawing from the ISEAL Assurance Code, the relevant desired outcomes of the ASI Oversight Mechanism are that:
- The ASI assurance system results in accurate assessments of compliance:
- The assurance system is implemented consistently
- The assurance system is implemented competently
- The assurance system is implemented impartially
- Effectiveness and efficiency of the ASI assurance system are improved over time:
- Risks to the integrity of the assurance system are managed
- Improvements to the assurance system are made as needed
Figure 1 illustrates the five main components of the ASI Oversight Mechanism.
Find out more about our approach to each of these components below.
Key components of ASI Oversight
The ASI Oversight Mechanism procedure documents our overall approach. In this, you can find more detail on the role and responsibilities of the ASI Secretariat and other parties, including independent reviewers, ASI Accredited Auditing Firms, and ASI Accredited Auditors, and ASI Members.
The ASI Assurance Manual must be used by ASI Accredited Auditing Firms and ASI Accredited Auditors when carrying out activities and responsibilities associated with ASI Certification. The Manual is operationalised through elementAl, the ASI Assurance Platform, to enhance consistency and efficiency.
1. Accreditation of Audit Firms
2. Accreditation of Individual Auditors
ASI has set additional criteria and processes at the individual level for accepting qualified persons as ASI Accredited Auditors, and Registered Specialists that may be used to support audit teams working under the direction of a Lead Auditor. Find out more on the Application for Accredited Auditors / Specialists page.
3. Competence building and evaluation
Once Audit Firms and individuals are reviewed and accepted under the Accreditation processes above, ASI has processes for competence building and evaluation in relation to ASI’s program. ASI has set out processes for mandatory initial, refresher and calibration training modules for all ASI Accredited Auditors and Registered Specialists. Training participants are required to demonstrate understanding of the learning objectives in each module through formal assessments and exams.
4. Audit report oversight assessments
All submitted Audit Reports are subject to an internal Oversight assessment by the ASI Secretariat to:
- confirm that the ASI Accredited Auditing Firm has conducted and documented ASI Audits consistent with the requirements of the ASI Assurance Manual,
- enhance competence and consistency of assurance providers through direct feedback, and
- identify ongoing improvement opportunities in ASI’s assurance system.
- This process also enables ASI to carry out:
- in-depth monitoring of defined issues across all assurance providers
- aggregate reviews of assurance data shared through elementAl
- subsequent follow-up for any issues or discrepancies discovered.
The Audit Report Oversight Assessment Procedure describes the internal oversight assessment processes carried out by the ASI Secretariat to review ASI Audit Reports.
For every issued ASI Certification, Summary Audit Reports are published. This enhances transparency and provide a means for feedback or queries from stakeholders about ASI Audits, which can further inform ASI oversight activities.
5. Internal and external reviews
- Witness Assessments of live audits
- Impartiality reviews
- Internal management reviews
- ISEAL Alliance independent evaluations and other reviews
Summary of internal and external reviews
The table below will be updated periodically to capture the status and outcomes of ASI’s review processes.
Internal management review
The first ASI internal management review focused in particular on ASI’s ISEAL membership application. It documented the development and updates of a range of procedures related to ASI assurance, including the first version of the ASI Oversight Mechanism. The 2018 management review report was shared with the ASI Board.
Witness Assessment – DNV GL
A witness assessment of ASI Accredited Audit Firm DNV GL was conducted by the ASI Secretariat, associated with a Performance Standard Certification audit in Iceland. DNV GL was selected for the first witness assessment as they had conducted the majority of ASI Audits at that time. Five improvement areas were identified for the Audit Firm and 4 actions were also identified for ASI. The Audit Firm carried out and reported on its corrective actions to ASI, which were related to audit planning, stakeholder engagement and reporting. ASI’s actions were implemented through new calibration training for auditors, updates to elementAl instructions, and several items added to the ASI Assurance Manual as part of the 2020-2022 Standards Revision process.
Internal management review
The second ASI internal management review included a strong focus on a backlog of oversight processes that had developed in the context of rapid uptake of ASI Certification. The need for urgent action to digitise and streamline audit report oversight activities was recognised, and this work was comprehensively carried out in Q1 2020. The 2019 management review report was shared with the ASI Board.
Internal management review
The third annual ASI internal management review included a focus on the need for further recruitment to support ongoing scaling of the ASI program; plans for further digitisation work in elementAl for public reporting; and acknowledged the impact and mitigating responses for the Covid-19 pandemics. Witness assessments were put on hold until site-based audit planning was safe. The 2020 management review report was shared with the ASI Board.
ISEAL Assurance Code – independent evaluation
This evaluation is the first independent assessment of ASI against the revised ISEAL Assurance Code (Version 2). ASI submitted evidence in November 2020 and received the evaluator’s report in March 2021. Three minor non-conformances relating to procedural improvement opportunities were identified and have been closed by ASI to the satisfaction of the independent evaluator. Several other observations are also being addressed.
ASI has undertaken to commission an annual independent Impartiality Review. The purpose of the Impartiality Reviews is to assess decision-making processes relating to ASI assurance and identify any risks to impartiality which should be mitigated or avoided. The first such review was commissioned in December 2020 and the review report is expected in early Q2 2021.