In an ideal organisation there will be no special preparation for an external audit because the management will be confident that ‘business as usual’ is fully complaint with all applicable requirements. None of us work in an ideal organisation so there is always some preparation required for an external audit.
Audits under the ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme are relatively infrequent but the impact of these audits can be considerable. Results are now published online so anybody can check the level of ‘Effective Implementation’ of ICAO Standards in any State (see the ICAO USOAP interactive viewer). A low level of ‘Effective Implementation’ is embarrassing. A ‘Significant Safety Concern’ (red flag) can be disastrous for the aviation industry of a country and even have a negative effect on the wider economy, especially in isolated countries or those that rely on tourism.
Preparing for a USOAP audit is a lengthy and complex process. If your technical experts are fully occupied with the ‘day job’ then it makes sense to bring in some external expertise to help with audit preparation, especially if the external experts have been through the process before. Our consultants have experience of all aspects of the USOAP process from completing Protocol Questions; identifying differences from ICAO Standards and filing these via the EFOD system (or updating regulations to eliminate those differences); developing corrective action plans (CAP) to address identified findings and ensuring that staff are prepared to present information during the audit or validation mission (ICVM). We have access to IT tools to manage and coordinate every aspect of the USOAP process.
The EASA Member States are subject to ‘Standardisation’ by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). EASA conducts domain-specific inspections in order to monitor ‘the application by competent authorities’ of European requirements. EASA don’t have the power to take any enforcement action as a result of these inspections but the results are reported to the European Commission who could, in extremis, suspend ‘mutual recognition’ of certificates issued by a particular State.
Our experts have significant experience of EASA Standardisation in both giving and receiving, especially in the Air Operations and Aircrew domains. We can assist with preparation for a standardisation visit by pre-auditing the applicable domains, making recommendations for improvement and assisting with implementation; alternatively, where non-compliances have been identified we can assist with the development of corrections and corrective actions that will satisfy EASA and improve oversight and certification in the State.
How can we help?
For a conversation about how McKechnie Aviation can help your Aviation Authority to be ‘Audit Ready’ please get in touch.