Unbelievably, this week – is the one year anniversary of go live of issue 8!

And that means your auditor is going to expect you to have progressed with your culture plan, since your last audit.  So, in this article we’re going to recap what you need to have achieved, ready for your next audit.

The basics

So, to comply with the culture requirements – you should have:

  • Defined what your sites culture is.
    We covered this in a previous article if you want to recap: What is food safety and quality culture? 
  • Carried out an assessment of whether your site employees think that your business is meeting the specified culture.
    This is typically done using a survey and we covered the different options for this in the following previous article: Your culture survey options
  • Once the assessment is done, you should have evaluated the results and worked out an action plan, to improve any areas of concern or which can be enhanced.
    Again, we wrote an article about the BRC requirements, which you can read again here: What do the BRC mean by Food Safety Culture?

So – what now?

Well, your auditor will expect you to have completed the actions that you set out in your culture plan.  They will also expect you to have defined success criteria for each action, so they can establish themselves if you have met these for each action.  That means, you’ll need to prove evidence of how you’ve met these success criteria.  It won’t be enough, to just say that they are complete – you’ll need to prove it.

Culture plan review

In order to determine if you have met your culture actions using the success criteria, you will need to carry out a culture review with management.

This review should be documented. In this review, you can also document the data for your success criteria – so that you have the needed evidence to show your auditor.

Failed actions

Where you haven’t achieved any of the actions within the timescales – you will need to have carried out root cause analysis to define why they have not been met. It’s not enough, to just say – that you’ve not achieved them and move on.

Once you’ve carried out the root cause analysis, you then need to put in place preventive actions to make sure that future culture actions are achieved successfully. These preventive actions should be added to your culture plan, so there is a full traceable picture for the auditor.

Eat, sleep, culture – repeat

Once that’s done, we need to repeat the process.  Although the Standard doesn’t say how often this should be repeated, auditors will most likely expect this to be annually.

If the culture plan is scheduled over a longer period, such as two years – then your auditor will need to see that you’ve done what you said you were going to do – so far.  And remember, the success criteria – this is even more important for a long term plan.  It may even include smaller culture assessments (surveys) on specific action topics.

If you’re plan is an annual plan, and therefore the plan is complete – another plan now needs to be developed.

The management review should include a review of the defined culture to ensure that it still meets the businesses requirements, or if anything needs adding or amending.

Then, it’s a case of carrying out another assessment (e.g. survey), collecting the results, evaluating the results and developing and documenting another culture action plan.

Culture workshop

We have developed a culture workshop, to help you assess your current plan and develop your next.

The one day workshop includes the following:

  • An audit of your current culture plan, actions and evidence
  • Facilitate a management review of the current plan and actions, using root cause analysis where any actions have been missed
  • Expert lead coaching of the management team to develop the next culture plan using our 5 step process

£740 plus expenses + vat

If you have done anything that’s really worked well with regard to culture – it would be amazing if you could share it with everyone, so we can all learn from it. 

Just pop it into the box below (and thanks in advance!).

Have your say…

4 thoughts on “Your culture plan, one year on. Are you ready for your second issue 8 audit?

  1. As part of our assessment of Food Safety Culture, an experienced internal auditor was asked to audit section 1 of BRC v8. As part of this audit, the auditor asked staff questions on culture, where they thought we were and where improvements were needed – all confidential, no names used. We used these findings to add more actions to our Food Safety and Quality Culture Plan. This plan is reviewed and adapted quarterly.

  2. Great article Kassy. We carry out a survey each quarter to compare results and check for improvements, however, the process of collating everyone’s scores into an excel spreadsheet & analysing the data is extremely time consuming! I wondered if anyone has used any web based survey providers such as survey monkey? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated 🙂

    1. We’ve not done a survey yet, we’re a very small growing/packing business so 15 staff in the packhouse right now and up to 50 total across management, farm etc in the summer. It was difficult to think up the right kind of useful survey we could do for free, and to be honest multiple languages and paper surveys were daunting.

      We have 4 common languages on site, I can’t find a completely free multilingual online survey provider (they say they’re free until you actually select you want multi language!!) but then remembered Microsoft Forms. Multi language built in – your user selects this at the start and it will collate all answers and present data back to you in excel in your main language.

      At least one person on each harvest team has a smartphone, with that and office equipment we should be able to get the survey out to everyone I think. Surveys aren’t mandatory for BRC compliance but they are a useful tool used correctly.

      Not an answer on how users do with surveys – but I recommend Microsoft Forms – most businesses will use Office 365 these days.

Share your thoughts…

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We've tagged this article as: ,