It is important to note that when an audit is scheduled, it cannot be done through coercion or colluding between parties to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome that is unethical. This includes the business requesting a specific auditor, or an auditor auditing a business where they might have a personal connection. There are systems built into the audit scheduling process to meet the criteria as set out in the SIZA Audit Process and Methodology. A producer needs an updated and approved SAQ to obtain the option to schedule an audit. Once the option to request an audit is available, the producer must select the audit firm of their choice on MySIZA. There are various options available to choose from which are determined by your specific buyer, e.g., announced, semi-announced, unannounced, etc.
SIZA allows the producer to obtain tentative dates and quotes from all approved audit firms before deciding who they would like to use. Here are all the approved audit firms which can be contacted:
- Social Audit Firms: https://siza.co.za/audits-3/recognised-audit-firms/
- Environmental Audit Firms: https://siza.co.za/recognised-audit-firms/
Once the audit firm has received the audit request, the audit scheduler must assign an audit team to the audit. This is an online process via MySIZA. The allocation of the audit team should be based on a variety of factors related to competency, availability, and adequacy. Under no circumstances can auditees request a particular audit team (auditor) to conduct audits, as this puts the credibility of the audit report at risk along with the reputation of SIZA, the audit company, the auditor, and the entire industry.
SIZA can unfortunately not accept any audits which were arranged unethically or which will impact the credibility of the audit outputs. In any event where SIZA becomes aware of any coercion or collusion between producers, audit personnel, or independent consultants in arranging for specific auditors to visit sites outside the boundaries allowed, SIZA will implement the necessary penalties, which could lead to suspension of the auditor and/or audit company and rejecting the audit.
Consultants may confer with the producer regarding the audit. The consultant may also advise and guide the producer before and after the audit. When all the findings have been reported and documented on MySIZA, the consultant can assist the producer in understanding and interpreting the findings. Producers should employ consultants at their own cost and not as part of an audit. The consulting process is external between the producer and the consulting firm/consultant. Neither the auditor or any related family member, nor the audit firm can take on the role of both consultant and auditor for the same audit process or on the same farm. The role of the auditor and consultant should be clearly defined before an audit.