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Refcom braces for online F-Gas audit system launch

Registration body aims to launch new online function by September in attempt to streamline testing

Refcom aims to commence testing by the middle of August on a new online system for auditing organisations certified to handle F-Gas. The introduction of the new technology forms part of efforts by Refcom to streamline its administrative processes.

The revised approach to auditing is intended to allow certified F-Gas companies to upload documents and evidence to prove they are complying with regulations if required to undergo a random compliance assessment.

Refcom, which is part of the BESA group, is one of a small number of organisations chosen by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to operate as a certification body for handling the gas.

The organisation is required by Defra to annually test 5% of its members on the register of competent F-Gas companies. Based on this workload, Refcom aims to test 1.25% of organisations on this list each quarter.

Graeme Fox, a senior mechanical engineer with Besa who heads up Refcom’s work, said there was an intention to launch the online audit process by September this year in order to move away from a reliance on time consuming paper processes.

“We are trying to make this audit system as easy as possible by having an automated system to tell organisations being audited what they will need to do,” he said.

Intended to move the certification body into the 21st century, while also reducing the burden of administrative heavy processes on both its own and members’ operations, Fox said that a select group of companies would be asked to help test out the new system.

Representing several months of development work, the automated system will now be able to inform organisations by e-mail that they have been chosen for an audit and set out what sort of documentation is needed. Rather than relying on a more time consuming process of companies posting letters and then waiting for subsequent responses from a technical auditor, organisations will now be able to provide documents online to speed up communications and any required work to address potential areas of non-compliance.

“Because we can do this, we can continue to manage the register without increasing costs,” Fox said. At the same time, he argued that Refcom would be better placed to oversee wider services for members such as providing technical support and guidance to members.

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