With the current restrictions on travel and face-to-face meetings, CPSL has adapted its audit approach to be able to continue audits online.  A CPSL audit generally consists of review of documents, assessment of policies and procedures and numerous interviews and discussions with religious, clergy, employees and volunteers to understand how safeguarding practices are applied in the entity’s ministries and services.  These audit procedures can be conducted remotely, by using video conferencing software such as Zoom or Skype for the interviews and discussions, and by requesting electronic copies of relevant documents for review at the start of the audit.

The primary instance where a physical site visit is still required is to review the complaints handling process where the entity has a substantial number of active abuse cases – these need to be reviewed on site, given the confidential and sensitive nature of these documents.  However, for entities that have few or no active abuse cases, the general complaints handling process can be assessed by review of documents, observations and discussions with relevant personnel. 

Unlike a physical site audit, where the audit team is on site and can ask questions continuously throughout, the biggest challenge with respect to online auditing is the need to be very organised and pool questions or enquiries for raising at regular check-in meetings held with the entity throughout the audit.  On the flip side, remote auditing can actually be an advantage for the entity, as the fact that an audit team is not physically on site means less disruption to the entity in terms of impact on space, resources and time spent by personnel on the audit.

Whilst initially some entities are hesitant about commencing their audit in an online environment, any concerns generally disappear as the audit progresses and as they settle into the process.  Feedback from audit participants who have had their audit conducted remotely/online has been very positive.

To begin discussing a safeguarding audit with CPSL and to obtain a copy of the Service Agreement, please contact Tania Stegemann, Director of Compliance – tania@cpsltd.org.au or call 1300 603 411.