APSCA Part I and II Exam Syllabus
Root Cause Analysis
Root cause analysis (RCA) is a systematic process of identifying the underlying or fundamental causes of a
problem or event, rather than just addressing the symptoms or superficial issues. The aim of RCA is to determine
what went wrong, why it happened, and how to prevent it from happening again in the future.
It is not expected that auditors will conduct root cause analysis as this could lead to consultancy, but auditors
must understand the main techniques and be able to assess whether the organization has followed a
systematic approach to be able to assess the effectiveness of any corrective action taken.
The RCA process typically involves several steps, including:
1. Gathering data and facts related to the problem or event and defining the problem clearly.
2. Identifying the immediate, contributing, and underlying causes of the problem using various analytical
tools such as 5-Why, Fishbone diagrams, Pareto charts, and fault tree analysis.
3. Testing and validating the identified root causes to ensure they are accurate and complete.
4. Developing and implementing corrective and preventive actions (CAPA) to address the root causes and
prevent recurrence of the problem.
5. Monitoring and verifying the effectiveness of the CAPA to ensure they are working as intended.
RCA is widely used to improve the quality and efficiency of products and services, enhance safety and reliability,
reduce costs, and increase customer satisfaction.
The audit is to ensure that sufficient evidence is gathered and reviewed. This applies both to sampling of
documents and records and to the selection of workers to interview. Codes of Conduct and third-party
programs may have specified the appropriate number of records to review and interviews to conduct. In
meeting this threshold, it is essential that samples are selected using suitable approaches to ensure:
the issues with known local prevalence are fully investigated
any indicators uncovered during the audit are fully followed up.
It is therefore important that the auditor selects the sample including all potentially vulnerable groups and
including workers from different backgrounds and nationalities. Auditors should not omit groups on the basis
that they do not speak the relevant language or have a means to communicate directly with them, rather they
should make use of appropriate translation services and interpreters to ensure that evidence can be gathered
effectively (see also the information under Languages and Use of Translators).
Languages and use of translators
It is often the case that foreign migrant workers are present at a site being audited and such workers may not
be able to express themselves fluently in the language spoken by the auditor. However, it is important that the
auditor conducts interviews with such workers as they may well be more vulnerable to exploitative practices.
There are some key steps to follow to ensure that these interviews are effective, and that worker confidentiality
is assured, including:
do not use individuals nominated by the facility’s management to act as interpreters in worker
interviews. While a facility nominee might be used to explain some documents if not in local
language, information obtained in this way should be treated with caution
depending on the number of interviews to be conducted and the amount of translation required,
it may be possible to use some online services but in general it is preferable for interviews to be
conducted either by a qualiﬁed auditor with the necessary language skills or through an interpreter
independent third-party translators or interpreters who may be in person or available on-line should
be contracted by the Audit Firm. In establishing such contracts, the Audit Firm must ensure that they
have conducted their own due diligence to verify that the interpreter does not have any conﬂict of
interest (such as previous work with the organization or interaction with workers on behalf of the
authorities) and that they have provided a suitable non-disclosure agreement.
Version & Date:
APSCA Part I and II Exam Syllabus D-189
Version ꢀ – April 2023
This document is no longer version controlled once printed.
APSCA Exam Team
President & CEO
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