Following the forced stop to activity due to the pandemic, JACIE is pleased to be able to resume inspection during the last quarter of 2021. To date, we have organized 18 on-site inspections up to February 2022. Moreover, due to the disruption caused by the international COVID19 outbreak which made onsite inspections impossible, JACIE and other certification bodies implemented remote formats. In mid-2021, JACIE performed 3 pilot remote inspections and will be using this format for some of the inspections being scheduled into early 2022,
On-site inspections can reveal much by being physically present, including many subtle indicators of the real status of a quality management system and organisational culture and work atmosphere, aspects which are harder to capture remotely. In addition, this process depends on availability of technology to support live, interactive conversation/interviews, virtual site visits, and being able to review documents and data during this period. Nonetheless, the experience of the pilot inspections demonstrated that the format is a satisfactory alternative that allows JACIE to continue its inspection activities and meet demand from centres.
In the meantime, an additional format to help get through the backlog was also introduced this 2021 whereby, JACIE assesses centres against a reduced scope of the more critical standards leading to a shorter accreditation period. The format is largely desk-based with some more complex programmes requiring a focussed remote inspection also. A total of 7 inspections are already organized and 4 are still planned until February 2022.
In summary, the centre's participation in remote inspections is optional and voluntary, depending on the centre’s technical capacity and willingness. An additional important factor is inspector preparedness and competency to conduct online inspections. Inspectors have received training prior to conducting online audits in the used tools and about important concepts of communication skills during an online inspection.