The horsegate scandal and its fall-out certainly brought the importance of supplier auditing to the fore and the requirement for traceability through every stage of the supply chain. Here at Verner Wheelock we’re well-known for providing a range of popular auditing courses for those in the food industry. The courses are designed to give candidates the essential skills and confidence to undertake internal, supplier and third party audits. They range from our FDQ Auditing Skills course to FDQ Supplier Auditing (ideal for those responsible for auditing their organisation’s new and existing suppliers) and the FDQ Lead Auditor course, which provides the requisite skills to audit a complete management system.
We also run Ethical Auditing workshops, and act as third party SMETA ethical auditors ourselves. Occasionally though, even those providing auditing training and auditing services are themselves subject to an audit!
This was the case recently when the Compliance Manager from The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) paid us a routine visit at our premises in Skipton, North Yorkshire. The purpose of the visit was to review the procedures we use to deliver the RSPH qualifications we offer, which includes all levels of Food Safety, HACCP, and Nutrition from basic to advanced. In addition the visit was to determine whether we are continuing to meet RSPH Centre Accreditation and Qualifications Approval requirements; and also to make sure that the examination process is in compliance with RSPH guidance. So, the burning question is: do we in fact practise what we preach?
Excellent training facilities and highly-qualified tutors
The answer is a resounding ‘yes!’ We’re delighted to report that following our audit we were given a glowing report. Amongst the Compliance Manager’s comments was the observation that our premises ‘have excellent training facilities and high quality provision for candidates’ and that we use ‘a number of highly qualified tutors who are carefully selected to provide the quality of training Verner Wheelock wish their company to be known for.’ We were even lauded for the information provided on our website: ‘A comprehensive website allows potential candidates access to full details of the company, their courses and ancillary information e.g. local hotels and restaurants and supporting information for courses, so enabling potential candidates to make informed choices.’
Course material that far exceeds assessment criteria
As part of the assessment, the Compliance Manager observed part of the Level 4 Food Safety course which was being held at our Skipton premises that day. Her feedback was the same as many of our candidates – namely that the course material was of an excellent standard, in fact it went way beyond the course criteria, and that the tutor was very knowledgeable and well-prepared. She was especially impressed by the interactive element of the course and the way in which the tutor was able to use the knowledge of the varied candidates to bring further relevance to the learning outcomes.
A highly qualified team of staff
It wasn’t only the course tutors who received praise. The entire team at Verner Wheelock, together with the way in which we work, was given the RSPH seal of approval: ‘The centre has a highly-qualified team of staff with a wealth of occupational experience and qualifications to support the delivery of RSPH qualifications. [It] is operating at an excellent level in respect of management, administration and delivery of qualifications and provides very good teaching, support services and resources for students. Courses are well-designed and delivered using a variety of teaching resources and candidates achieve excellent results.’
In fact, three Verner Wheelock candidates achieved the highest marks in the country this year in Level 4 RSPH examinations in HACCP and Food Safety– not a bad result, considering 66,000 people took RSPH exams this year! They received their awards at a ceremony in London this week (see forthcoming blog for details).
Even examination security, procedures and invigilation were given the thumbs-up by the RSPH assessor, including those examinations held offsite at client premises. In fact the only recommendation offered by the RSPH was the instigation of a facilities checklist for assessing and recording the suitability of any new premises used as a training and assessment venue.
A word from our Managing Director
Verner Wheelock’s Managing Director, Alison Wheelock was clearly extremely pleased with the result of the review. She said “We have run RSPH qualification courses for around 20 years and have always strived to provide the very best training for our candidates in an environment which is highly conducive to learning. Our tutors are hand-picked for their knowledge and ability to deliver courses which are informative, engaging, current and relevant to our clients’ individual businesses. We pride ourselves on ensuring our candidates achieve excellent examination results, many of whom are employed by some of the biggest names in the food industry. And our recent expansion and refurbished premises with state-or-the-art equipment means that we can comfortably accommodate up to 14 delegates in our modern training facility within the picturesque grounds of historic Broughton Hall in the Yorkshire Dales.”
“We’ve always believed that we provide an excellent service. It’s wonderful that this has been ratified by the RSPH.”