new green 1Growers and Suppliers should refer to the following document to ensure appropriate selection of a Certification Body to conduct the HARPS Audit (Scheme Rules – Appendix 2 Certification Body Matrix)

As Certification Body participation is approved by the Retailers, Certification Bodies that would like to take part in auditing HARPS are required to apply to each retailer individually.

HARPS Auditor Approval Program

Auditor Competency is of utmost importance to the delivery of HARPS program. The role of our auditors underpins the credibility and robust nature of this program.

The HARPS Auditor Approval Program has been developed to communicate fundamentals of the HARPS Scheme, transfer knowledge on current and important issues faced by participating retailers and improve upon the current competency of the Australian Fresh Produce auditor base.

The program works systematically and progressively with the release of the HARPS program and builds upon auditor competency and capability through carefully considered training and development.

As Australia is currently facing a shortage of food safety auditors, with numbers likely to decrease in the near future, the release of HARPS is a valuable opportunity to enhance auditor competency and attract new talent into the field of auditing.

Preliminary activities

All participating Certification Bodies (CB’s) are requested to submit a list of auditors to the HARPS Project Team for approval. This information will be reviewed against the requirements of Phase 1 Provisional Approval Requirements and held confidentially by the PMA Administrator.

Prior to the HARPS Program launch, participating CB’s were invited to attend a HARPS awareness session.

This session will include the following criteria:

  • HARPS Background, project timelines, stakeholders, website
  • Documents
  • Processes (administrative and technical, current and future)
  • Auditor approval program
  • The examination process (for auditors)

All HARPS Auditors will be required to complete 3 phases to gain HARPS Auditor Approval.


Figure 1 HARPS Auditor Approval Program.

Phase 1 –Provisional Approval

At program launch, Wednesday 26th October 2016, participating auditors will require qualifications and credentials agreed by the Strategic Working Group to perform HARPS audits.

Phase 2 – Formal Training and Technical Assessment

Formal, face-to-face training will likely commence around March 2017 and will be made available to all Certification Bodies participating in the HARPS Scheme. Face-to-face training will be conducted by a HARPS approved trainer and will include the following modules:

  • Overview of HARPS including HARPS Objectives, structure, administration, communication and members
  • Customer Focus – update from our retailers
  • HARPS Database
  • Review of technical documents including Scheme Rules, HARPS Elements and Audit Checklist
  • Overview and refresher training on auditing best practice – planning & organisation, communication and behaviour
  • Case Studies (including role play activities)
  • Technical assessment

Phase 3 – Witness Audit Program

Auditors successfully completing Phases 1 & 2 will be witness audited within the first 18 months of the HARPS go-live date. This witness audit may be conducted by a skilled witness auditor nominated by the CB (approved by the HARPS Stakeholder Working Group) or by a HARPS delegate (also approved by the HARPS Stakeholder Working Group).  Certification Body Program or technical managers will be provided with a report by individual auditor which will include the outcome of Phases 1-3.

Following successful completion of Phase 3, auditors will be considered Phase 3 Approved HARPS Auditors.

Phase 3 Approved Auditors may be reviewed on a random basis following the first 18 months of HARPS go-live as part of the HARPS Integrity Program.