Auditor competencies — Marine Stewardship Council
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Auditor competencies


As part of the Certification Body (CAB) Learning & Development Strategy, a competency framework for different groups of CAB audit personnel is being proposed. This includes proposed competencies and qualification criteria as well as suggested mechanisms for verifying the competencies described.


The key objectives for defining competency and qualification criteria are to:

  • ensure a minimum level of competency for all CAB audit personnel which will help to achieve the target of more consistent and robust certification outcomes
  • ensure all CAB audit personnel meet these competencies and qualifications

Who can comment?

The consultation is open to any and all interested stakeholders.

Documents out for consultation

Auditor competencies consultation document (PDF, 304 kb).

Proposed changes

The consultation document proposes additional competency and qualification criteria for MSC fishery assessment team leaders, assessment team members, peer reviewers, Chain of Custody (CoC) lead auditors, team auditors and group CoC auditors.

Details can be found in Annex A of the consultation document (304 kb).

Possible verification methods for the competencies proposed are also listed in Annex B of the consultation paper (304kb).

Consultation questions

  1. Do you agree that a combination of qualifications and competency criteria will increase consistency of fishery assessments while preserving flexibility in assessment team composition?
  2. Will the proposed framework unreasonably restrict the pool of available personnel to undertake fishery assessments and chain of custody audits? If so, which specific criteria do this and how could it be mitigated?
  3. What alternative framework do you think would best ensure the largest pool of personnel to undertake fishery assessments and CoC audits whilst ensuring all audit personnel are qualified and competent?
  4. How realistic is it to include the criteria for personal attributes? Should all of them be included or just those which are clearly auditable?
  5. For fishery team members, what evidence would you look for to fulfil the third-party product and management system conformity assessment auditing techniques competencies?
  6. For fishery team members, what evidence would you look for to fulfil the interviewing stakeholders competencies?
  7. Which of the listed verification mechanisms would be the most effective?
  8. Do you have any additional suggestions for how to verify the competency of audit personnel?

How to comment

Stakeholders may submit their comments using the contributor form (Word125 kb) or in other format to, with the subject heading ‘Audit personnel competencies consultation’.

Next steps

After the consultation period, all comments that have been received will be reviewed and changes made as appropriate. The document and the proposed competency and qualification criteria will then be presented to the MSC Technical Advisory Board this December for final approval.

Further information

Any questions or comments regarding this consultation should be directed to:

Graham Bruford
+44 (0) 20 7246 8941

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