Did you know that BRC charge a fee to your certification body for each audit?
Your certification body then has to pass the fee onto you, which is added to your audit invoice. This does seem obvious when you think about it, although you may not have considered it.
The BRC service package fee covers BRC costs for managing and updating the Standard and managing the approval and monitoring of your certification body, among other things. The BRC have grown over the years and become much more well known. Its likely, that the administration around the world has also grown, so you can appreciate that the fees would need to grow in line with the expansion. When you see how much the fees have increased, it does become harder to comprehend how these costs represent the fees charged. The below information is what we can find about the fee increases – you’ll see there are some gaps in-between what we’ve been able to find, but you can get the idea…
1st Nov 2014
Service package fee rises from £150 to £180
Participate introduced, subscription fee of £95 per year
1st Oct 2017
Service package fee increases from £215 to £300 due to market position and innovations in technology, such as Participate
1st August 2018
Service package fee increases to £450
Subscription fee for Participate removed, as this is included in the new service fee, along with unlimited BRC Professional status’
1st September 2019
Service package fee increases to £500
There are two points here that stand out…
- The cost of developing and maintaining Participate has been added to the service fee.
If the original (optional) subscription fee of £95 was not taken up as widely as expected and so, BRC took the decision to make it mandatory, by adding it to the fee. It was our understanding that Participate was developed to provide additional support to the sites, but the fact that the sites wouldn’t pay for it, gives us the impression that it isn’t something the sites wanted or perhaps needed.
Because we were unaware of the service fee, when BRC took away the subscription fee to Participate, we thought it was a good thing – because they were then giving it to the sites for free. It turns out that wasn’t quite true and it leaves a bit of a sour taste.
2. One of the benefits advertised for the increased fee in 2018 was that the sites could now have unlimited access to BRC Professional.
What that means is that anyone at site can call themselves a BRC Professional and BRC will put them on their website as such, if they pass the BRC Professional training programme. Sounds good on first impression – that the sites have unlimited access to this training programme.
However, you still need to pay for all the courses within the training programme. The bit that you get ‘free’ is the badge that the person is a BRC Professional. We may be being cynical, but it seems like a bit of a marketing ploy to us, to sell training courses. The badge of BRC Professional doesn’t seem to warrant such fee increase, surely the extra money from the training courses they are getting should pay for the admin around the ‘badge’?
We’d love to know a bit more about the reasoning behind the increase in the BRC service package fee; hopefully BRC will jump in and comment on this article about it. It would be good to know what we are getting now, that we weren’t getting in 2014 that justifies 333% price increase.
As always, we’d really like to know your thoughts on this. Nobody likes paying fees, but we all should appreciate that they are a necessary evil. Do you think the fee you pay per audit is warranted? Please add your thoughts below.
We've tagged this article as: BRC audit protocol
Thousands of Food Techies all over the world read and trust our newsletter.
Sign-up to our newsletter and get our articles direct to your inbox - for free!
If you've enjoyed this post why not try these related articles…
BRC remote audits during the coronavirus pandemic
BRC have issued guidance for what will happen if your audit is affected by coronavirus.
Coronavirus and the food industry
Are you limiting access to your site and what controls we should have in place.