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Alarm Certificate Services Announcement: Remaining 2020 Annual Audits Will Be Virtual for Most Customers

In response to the risks of COVID-19, UL successfully piloted approaches to virtual audit with alarm service companies in position to participate.

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October 21, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to the delivery of protection services to your customers and their communities. We thank you and the entire industry for the way you rose to that challenge. 
 
In both the U.S. and Canada, UL suspended all service center compliance audits in March in order to minimize health risks and to allow the alarm industry to focus on serving subscribers as the crisis rapidly evolved. Since then, UL has piloted approaches to virtual auditing with companies in a position to participate. Industry volunteers provided great feedback that we’ve incorporated into the virtual audit process.
 
Up to 2020, UL has conducted virtual audits on a voluntary basis. Understandably, some companies asked to defer audit until later in the year, assuming health restrictions would be lifted and a physical audit could be done.

June and July business reopening initiatives in some areas allowed a limited number of physical UL audits to be conducted in accordance with U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. Unfortunately, recent COVID-19 metric trends have again increased the barrier to effectively conducting physical audits in every region. 
 
Third-party compliance oversight is a key component of stakeholder trust in any certification program. In order to maintain the value of your UL certification, we need to move together toward completing a 2020 service center audit for all service centers carrying UL certifications. 
 
In order to meet this objective, UL will be using virtual audit techniques for the remainder of the 2020 audit cycle for a large portion of our customers. This will apply to all certification categories, at least in part. Please note:

  • UL acknowledges that special circumstances may exist for which physical audit is appropriate and will consider those special circumstances on a case-by-case basis.  
  • For U.S. customers only: Participants in the National Industrial Security Program may also need to engage in some physical audit of the protected premise, based on risk assessment by stakeholders in the government contracting community. Details are in development and will be shared as soon as possible. 

The virtual audit experience will differ from the audit routine of previous years. However, our pilot projects have shown that the right pre-audit preparation has a deeply positive influence on outcomes.  
 
UL audit staff are working through assigned worklists and schedules now to determine which service center files have not yet received an audit in 2020. Once these are identified, UL audit staff will determine which files will receive virtual audits only, or a combination of a virtual and physical audit. These determinations will be based on UL travel guidance policy, as well as national (CDC), state and local requirements and restrictions at the time of audit scheduling. When you are contacted about your audit, you will be notified as to whether there will be a physical element to your 2020 audit. 
 
UL audit staff will walk you through the process, sharing best practices learned by the team so far. In addition, you can find written process documentation here.
 
We would encourage you to review the processes and ask your auditor for clarification on any questions that may arise. 
 
We appreciate the opportunity to continue serving your certification needs.  

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