Evaluation of the effectiveness of an SA8000 management system includes an assessment of how well the system is implemented, as evidenced by workplace policies and supporting evidence. This includes reviewing whether the social management system is implemented within the company’s overall objectives.
Non-Conformities and CARS
In auditing systems, a non-conformity is a deviation from a standard, policy requirement, or expectation. Specifically, in the SAAS system, the corrective action process includes non-conformities and corrective actions requests (CARs) written by SAAS against certification bodies (CB), and those written by the CB against their SA8000 client.
Types of Non-Conformities
A critical non-conformity represents a grievous breach of requirements – in the SA8000 system, it represents a possible severe impact to individual rights, life, safety, and/or SA8000, SAAS or SAI’s reputation. An SA8000 certificate may be denied, cancelled, or suspended when critical non-conformities are issued.
A major non-conformity is one or more of:
- The absence or total breakdown of a system to meet a normative requirement. A number of minor non-conformities against one requirement can represent a total breakdown of the system and thus be considered a major nonconformity;
- A nonconformity that judgment and experience indicate is likely either to result in the failure of the management system in meeting its goals and expectations or to materially reduce its ability to assure control of its policies and directives in the workplace to protect its workers.
A minor non-conformity is a failure to comply with the system requirements which, based on judgment and experience, is not likely to result in the failure of the management system or reduce its ability to assure the ongoing viability and effectiveness of policies and procedures to protect its workers’ rights. It may be one of the following:
- A failure or oversight in some part of the organization’s management system which is not systemic in nature;
- A single observed lapse in following one item of a company’s social management system.
A timebound non-conformity, used within the SA8000 system, is a special non-conformity that can only be raised as a result of audit evidence and findings demonstrating that the SA8000 organisation meets the local law but not the higher requirements of SA8000 (or vice versa). They may only be raised in the following circumstances:
- SA8000:2014: Clause 7: Working Hours: The client organisation does not meet the maximum working hours and/or maximum overtime hours per week as prescribed by SA8000 or the country law (whichever is the lesser amount). Monitoring and reporting is required every 6 months.
- SA8000:2014: Clause 8: Remuneration: The client organisation pays workers the legal minimum wage but not a living wage. Monitoring and reporting is required every 6 months.
CARs in Certification
Certification bodies submit their corrective action reports (CARs) to SAAS as a part of SAAS oversight procedures. From these reports, SAAS is able to oversee the CARs issued, so as to identify which elements receive the most violations, as well as understand how CARs vary across industry and country.
CARs in Accreditation
As part of management and evaluation of CB performances, SAAS conducts both office and witness audits of CBs – these audits often result in the identification of non-conformities and issuance of corrective action requests. These CARs vary by area of concern and are written against procedural and normative requirements. SAAS conducts analysis of trends in CARs to identify areas of weakness by CB, country and through out the system.