As sustainability is pushed to the top of the agenda for the event industry, coupled with the launch of standards and certifications, more events will be submitting for auditing of management systems and/or performance.
The event industry came together to produce the new international standard in event sustainability management systems - ISO 20121, and now things have gone a step further with the release of specific competencies those auditing the standard must hold.
Sustainable Event Alliance had a part to play in this, with our auditor competency poll, asking SEA members and the industry at large what they would like to see as skills and competencies in those who will be auditing our conformity with ISO 20121. The SEA was also on the working group that developed the specification - one of only three event industry representatives.
The ongoing uptake and effective implementation of ISO 20121 may be influenced by the quality of audits or auditors.
Technical Specification for Auditor Competency Launched
ISO/IEC TS 17021-4:2013, Conformity assessment - Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of management systems - Part 4: Competence requirements for auditing and certification of event sustainability management systems
ISO (through CASCO) has created this technical specification for competence requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of conformity assessment to ISO 20121. This document specifies the knowledge that must exist within the Audit Team undertaking external audits for ISO 20121.
A summary of the competencies required by Auditors:
- Event and event sustainability terminology
- Sustainability context
- Sustainable development principles
- Event sustainability design, planning and delivery
- Techniques for identification of sustainable development issues and the evaluation of their significance
- Legal and other requirements
- Venue characteristics
- Operational control
- Event sustainability metrics, measurement and monitoring techniques
- Event sustainability performance evaluation
The technical specification document will be purchased by bodies providing auditing services.
It is a brilliant step in ensuring that the event industry will have knowledgeable, competent and industry-specific auditors coming on to our sites and into our venues to conduct audits and not someone who has no clue of the nuances of our industry!
What Does an Event Have to Do?
There are no additional requirements you need to do, except expect excellence from your auditors. Question those proposing to audit your management system and conformity to ISO 20121, and be sure they have the skills and competencies outlined above. If there is a team of auditors, the competencies can be spread across the team. Every person doesn't need to have all the competencies.
Ask the proposed auditing body if they have a copy of the competency specification and what processes they have internally to ensure their audit team meets these competency requirements.
First, Second or Third?
The auditor competency specification is required to be taken up by 'Third Party' auditing bodies - however if you are undergoing a Second Party audit, you should also require the auditors to have these competencies at a minimum.
Likewise, if you are conducting an internal or 'First Party' audit, you should also make sure the staff member conducting the audit also has skills and competencies in the areas listed above. Look also to the sustainable event management competencies that all practitioners should strive to achieve. Read them here.
If you're interested, you can buy a copy of the specification here.