Information for Auditors

Environment Canterbury's procedures and criteria, fees and charges, and application forms for certification and recognition are detailed below.

A copy of the Canterbury Certified Farm Environment Plan (FEP) Auditor Manual is available online here.

Assessment criteria for Certified Farm Environment Plan Auditors

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To become a Certified Farm Environment Plan (FEP) Auditor you must meet the experience, membership, qualifications and proficiency requirements described in this document, in line with the Land and Water Regional Plan definition of Certified FEP Auditor.


If you are a member of an Environment Canterbury Recognised Primary Industry Certification Programme, you will only need to meet the proficiency requirements.

To re-register, you only need to meet the proficiency criteria.

 

Experience

You need to provide proof that you have at least five years of professional experience in managing pastoral, horticulture or arable farm systems.

As part of your experience, you will need to demonstrate an understanding of:

a.       Industry
  • Farm systems, to the extent you can undertake a holistic assessment of farm practices and generate appropriate audit findings and conclusions
  • Good management practices (GMPs), to the extent you can assess whether the practices undertaken on farms meet or potentially exceed GMPs
b.      Environment
  • Environmental effects derived from poor farm practices, so that you can generate appropriate audit findings and conclusions
  • Effects of farming practices on mahinga kai and biodiversity
  • Regional and sub-regional plans and other legal requirements, so that you can ensure audits meet statutory requirements.

Relevant evidence of your experience includes:

  • Tertiary qualification:
      • Certificate of Completion in Advanced Sustainable Nutrient Management in New Zealand Agriculture from Massey University, or
      • Some other qualification in agricultural science or a related field, or
      • An equivalent level of knowledge and experience
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Referral letter from previous clients or employers stating your experience 
  • Certification as a rural professional, for example, a New Zealand Institute of Primary Industry Management Dairy Farm Systems Consultant
  • Evidence of ongoing training/course attendance.


Membership

You need to be a member of a professional institute that prescribes a code of ethics for its members, which includes procedures to deal with any complaints made against members.

 

Specifically, the professional institute must:

  1. Have a code of ethics ensuring members carry out their functions with integrity, competence and confidentiality, and free from conflicts of interest
  2. Have a complaints process allowing the professional institute to investigate complaints without financial assistance from Environment Canterbury
  3. Be relevant to primary industry, farm systems, nutrient management or environmental management.

Relevant evidence of your membership of an appropriate professional institute, in order to satisfy the requirements of the definition of a Certified FEP Auditor, is:

  • Subscription to a professional institute that has a code of ethics for its members, and internal complaints procedures.



Before you submit your application, we recommend that you contact Environment Canterbury to ensure that your membership meets this requirement.


Qualifications

You need to hold at least one of the following qualifications to demonstrate that you are competent to assess the robustness of a nutrient budget:

  • Certificate of Completion in Advanced Sustainable Nutrient Management in New Zealand Agriculture from Massey University, or
  • A tertiary qualification in agricultural science, or an equivalent level of knowledge and experience, which needs to be approved by the Chief Executive of Environment Canterbury as part of the application process.

 

Relevant evidence of your qualifications, to satisfy the requirements of the definition of Certified FEP Auditor, is:

  • Certificate of Completion or other certificate to show tertiary qualification.


Proficiency

You must demonstrate you can apply the auditing standards included in the Canterbury Certified FEP Audit Manual by completing two audits covering two different farm systems where possible (or one audit for re-registration). You will be assessed by an Environment Canterbury Certified FEP Auditor Assessor.

Please note that to re-register you will also need to submit copies of at least three Farm Environment Plan audits for each year of the certification period, together with all supporting material.

 

During the assessment you will need to demonstrate your proficiency in:

  1. Reviewing key documents before each on-farm audit
  2. Assessing the robustness of nutrient budgets
  3. Assessing water efficiencies
  4. Generating an appropriate and fair Level Of Confidence (LOC) grade for targets and objectives, and an overall audit grade.

 

To satisfy the above requirements, you need to demonstrate proficiency in:

  1. Applying a technical and working knowledge of:
    1. Farm systems
    2. Environmental effects (and effects on mahinga kai) as a result of poor farm practices
    3. Health and safety, and biosecurity rules, regulations and practices
    4. Environmental rules and regulations
  2. Analysing, to assess the performance of the farm against the FEP targets and objectives:
    1. Farm data
    2. Environmental data
    3. Climate data
    4. Observed farm practices
  3. Gathering objective evidence to determine an appropriate and fair LOC for targets and objectives
  4. Communicating effectively with the auditee
  5. Acting in an ethical and professional manner in line with your professional institute's code of ethics
  6. Developing appropriate and fair actions to maintain performance (for A grades and high targets and objectives only) or improve performance (for all other grades)
  7. Following site-specific practices related to health and safety and biosecurity at all times.

 

For re-registration only, you must also provide evidence of continuing professional development to comply with the above requirements.

Table 1 details all of the assessment criteria for a Certified FEP Auditor conducting an on-farm audit.

For more information, please contact our Customer Services on 0800 324636 or, if calling from Christchurch, 03 353 9007.

 

Recognition of Primary Industry Certification Programmes

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What is a Recognised Primary Industry Certification Programme?

This a Primary Industry Certification Programme that the Chief Executive of Environment Canterbury recognises as meeting the experience, membership and certification requirements included in the definition of Certified Farm Environment Plan (FEP) Auditor in the Land and Water Regional Plan’s Nutrient Management Plan Change.


Benefit of the recognition

The recognition gives individual members of the Recognised Primary Industry Certification Programme a cheaper and more straightforward process of applying and being assessed for FEP Auditor Certification.


Criteria for the recognition

To be recognised, a Primary Industry Certification Programme must require its members to demonstrate, at a minimum, the experience, membership and qualifications included in the definition of Certified Farm Environment Plan Auditor in the Land and Water Regional Plan’s Nutrient Management Plan Change.


Application process

If you are an organisation interested in having your Primary Industry Certification Programme recognised, you will need to:

  1. Submit
    1. A completed Primary Industry Certification Programme recognition application form
    2. Supporting documents as evidence of meeting the approval criteria listed above
  2. Pay a fee to cover the assessment of your application.

 

Re-registration

The approval will last for three years. At the end of this period you will need to re-register.

If you are interested in re-registering, two months before your recognition expires you will need to

  1. Submit:
    1. A completed Primary Industry Certification Programme recognition application form
    2. Supporting documents as evidence of meeting the approval criteria listed above
  2. Pay a fee to cover the assessment of your application.


Revocation of recognition

Your recognition may be revoked at any point Environment Canterbury finds that you do not meet the criteria described in this brochure.

Revocation of recognition does not prevent your organisation from re-applying to become a Recognised Primary Industry Certification Programme. However, you must demonstrate that you have addressed the issues that prevented your organisation from retaining the previous recognition and submit a new application.


Disputes and complaints

When a complainant submits a complaint about the conduct of one of your members, we will inform you and direct the complaint to you.

If you find the complaint to be substantiated and revoke your member’s membership, please notify us at your earliest opportunity as we will need to revoke the FEP Auditor Certification of that person.

When a disputer submits a dispute over the FEP audit grade or action your member gives them, we will assess the dispute.


Additional information

For more information, contact our Customer Services on 0800 324636 or, if calling from Christchurch, 03 353 9007

International Standards Organisation Accredited Audit Programme approval

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What is an Approved International Standards Organisation (ISO) Accredited Audit Programme?

Under the Land and Water Regional Plan and its Nutrient Management Plan Change, an Approved ISO Accredited Audit Programme is an ISO Accredited Audit Programme approved by the Chief Executive of Environment Canterbury.


Benefits of the approval

The approval allows:

  • Any auditor operating under the Approved ISO Accredited Audit Programme to be considered as a Certified Farm Environment Plan (FEP) Auditor
  • Any farmer who is a member of the Approved ISO Accredited Audit Programme to have their FEP audited under that programme, avoiding any additional audits and associated costs.


Criteria for approval

An ISO Accredited Audit Programme must meet the following criteria to be approved. It must:

  1. Be accredited as an ISO Accredited Audit Programme
  2. Provide sufficient information about any external body it uses to audit farms affiliated with the ISO Programme
  3. Maintain clear auditor competency standards for the auditor(s) or any external body it uses to audit farms affiliated with the ISO Accredited Audit Programme, and those standards need to meet or exceed the standards required for Certified FEP Auditors
  4. Have auditing processes that meet or exceed the auditing processes identified in the Canterbury Certified FEP Auditor Manual
  5. Include environmental standards in accordance with Schedule 7 of the Land and Water Regional Plan and its changes and mahinga kai values to satisfy regional and sub-regional requirements
  6. Use an Environment Canterbury Approved FEP template to reflect the most up-to-date requirements of Schedule 7 of the Land and Water Regional Plan and its changes
  7. Convert the audit grade it uses to the Environment Canterbury standardised audit grade
  8. Have a complaints and disputes programme
  9. Report to Environment Canterbury on its members' performance. Specifically, reports will involve:
      • Audit data to Environment Canterbury – audit grades and nitrogen losses following an audit for all individual consented farms using the standardised Environment Canterbury submission form
      • Audit data to the Irrigation Scheme or Principal Water Supplier holding a resource consent with a Nutrient Discharge Allowance or Hurunui Waiau River Regional Plan Collective – audit grades and nitrogen losses following an audit for all members
      • For all farms registered with the ISO Accredited Audit Programme, an Annual Summary Report of:

i.      Farms graded A, B, C and D
ii.      Number of farms that are repeated C, D (1st repeat, 2nd repeat)
iii.      List of the main reasons why farms have been graded C or D
iv.      Programme to improve performance of these farms
v.      Progress report on previous identified issues
vi.      Identified illegal discharges and actions taken

      • A record of those members who have either been removed from the ISO Programme, or left voluntarily, within a month of their departure


     10. Impose sanctions when appropriate in order to improve the performance of its members
     
     11. Be audited by an assurance quality body registered with the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ).

Application process

If you are an organisation interested in getting approval for your ISO Accredited Audit Programme, you will need to:

  1. Submit:
    1. A completed ISO Accredited Audit Programme approval application form
    2. Supporting documents as evidence of meeting the approval criteria listed above
  2. Pay a fee to cover the assessment of your application.

 

Re-registration

The approval will last for three years. At the end of that period, you will need to re-register.
 

If you are interested in re-registering, two months before your approval expires you will need to

  1. Submit:
    1. A completed ISO Accredited Audit Programme approval application form
    2. Supporting documents as evidence of meeting the approval criteria listed above
  2. Pay a fee to cover the assessment of your application.

 

Revocation of approval

Your approval may be revoked at any point if Environment Canterbury finds that you do not meet the criteria described in this brochure.

Revocation of approval does not prevent your organisation from re-applying to become an Approved ISO Accredited Audit Programme. However, you must demonstrate that you have addressed the issues that prevented your organisation from retaining the previous approval and submit a new application.


Disputes and complaints

Your organisation will be responsible for resolving any dispute or complaint related your ISO Accredited Audit Programme.

We will forward to your organisation any submission we receive about a dispute or complaint related to one of your auditors.


Additional information

For more information, contact our Customer Services on 0800 324636 or, if calling from Christchurch, 03 353 9007

Farm Environment Plan auditing fees and charges

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Environment Canterbury has set the Farm Environment Plan (FEP) auditing fees and charges under section 150 of the Local Government Act 2002 from July 2017 to recover costs for implementing Environment Canterbury’s FEP Auditor Certification Programme and FEP Audit Dispute Programme.

The fees and charges form part of a transitional charging structure for the 2017/18 financial year. Environment Canterbury will review the fees and charges in 2018 as part of the 2018–2028 Long Term Plan process. During this review, you will be able to provide formal feedback.


The fees and charges have been based on:

  • A cost recovery principle
  • The adopted 25 June 2015 Fees and Charges Policy: Local Government Act
  • Miscellaneous charges – Table R: Charge out rates
  • Time staff spend on the tasks.

FEP Auditor Certification Programme

The Land and Water Regional Plan, through the Nutrient Management Plan Change, introduces a requirement that Certified FEP Auditors must audit FEPs.

The Certification Programme has two key components, which involve the criteria and process to:

  1. Certify an individual FEP Auditor, including the process to recognise individuals already certified under Recognised Primary Industry Certification Programmes
  2. Approve International Standards Organisation (ISO) Accredited Audit Programmes, to allow all farms belonging to an ISO Programme to have one audit only.
     

Individual FEP Auditor Certification

As part of the process and cost recovery framework to certify an FEP Auditor, the FEP Auditor must:

  1. Register, supported by a registration fee
  2. Have one annual spot-check of their ongoing proficiency in applying the auditing standards, supported by an annual fee. The annual fee will be at a discounted rate as Environment Canterbury recognises that checking the auditor’s ongoing proficiency in applying the auditing standards benefits the farming community
  3. Re-register every three years, supported by a re-registration fee.


Refer to Table 1 for details.


Recognition of Primary Industry Certification Programmes and approval of ISO Accredited Audit Programmes


As mentioned above, the Certification Programme recognises Primary Industry Certification Programmes and approves ISO Accredited Audit Programmes.

The purpose of recognising Primary Industry Certification Programmes is to integrate and support Primary Industry Certification Programmes. By holding a Recognised Primary Industry Certification, applicants already meet some of the Certification Programme criteria.

The purpose of approving ISO Programmes is to allow all farms belonging to an ISO Programme to have one audit only.

FEP Auditors who are in Recognised Primary Industry Certification Programmes or working through an Approved ISO Programme process and cost recovery framework:

  1. Register, supported by a registration fee
  2. Re-register every three years, supported by a re-registration fee.

For details, please refer to Table 2 and Table 3.

The fees and charges also take into account the costs of retaining and issuing ISO Certification.
 

FEP audit disputes

The FEP Dispute Programme describes how Environment Canterbury will deal with a person who disputes an audit grade that an individual Certified FEP Auditor has given them. Where the dispute concerns an assessment undertaken by an FEP Auditor belonging to an Approved ISO Accredited Audit Programme, the ISO Accredited Audit Programme concerned will deal with that dispute.

As part of the disputes process and cost recovery framework, the disputer submits a submission form, supported by a fee. The fee is paid by:

  1. The disputer up front. Environment Canterbury will refund this fee if the complaint is substantiated. It will retain the fee if the dispute is unsubstantiated
  2. The auditor if the dispute is substantiated.


Please refer to Table 4 for details.
 

Fees and charges tables


Please note - these fees may be subject to change during the Long Term Planning Process

Table 1: FEP Audit Certification 2017/18 fees and charges

Certification

Registration

  • Desktop study (not required for applicants holding a Recognised Primary Industry Certification)
  • On-farm assessment

Applicant type

Rate incl. GST

Maximum proposed fee

For applicants not holding a Recognised Primary Industry Certification

$149.50

$2,616

For applicants holding a Recognised Primary Industry Certification

$2,392

Annual fee

  • Covering one annual check – on-farm assessment
  • Discounted rate – Environment Canterbury recognises that checking the ongoing proficiency of the auditor in applying the auditing standards brings benefits to the farming community

Applicant type

Rate incl. GST

Maximum proposed fee

All

$74.75

$635

Re-registration

  • Every three years
  • Review of at least three FEP audits per year of Certification
  • One on-farm audit

Applicant type

Rate incl. GST

Maximum proposed fee

  • For applicants not holding a Recognised Primary Industry Certification

$149.50

$1,495

  • For applicants holding a Recognised Primary Industry Certification

$149.50

$1,271

  

Table 2: Recognition of Primary Industry Certification 2017/18 fees and charges

Recognition of Primary Industry Certification

Registration

  • Desktop study

Rate incl. GST

Maximum proposed fee

$149.50

$1,047

Re-registration

  • Every three years
  • Desktop study

Rate incl. GST

Maximum proposed fee

$149.50

$1,047

 

Table 3: Approval of ISO Programmes 2017/18 fees and charges

Certification

Registration

  • Desktop study

Rate incl. GST

Maximum proposed fee

$149.50

$1,495

Re-registration

  • Every three years
  • Desktop study

Rate incl. GST

Max Proposed Fee

$149.50

$1,495

 

Table 4: FEP audit disputes 2017/18 fees and charges

Disputes

Disputes

  • Desktop assessment
  • Interviews

Rate incl. GST

Maximum proposed fee

$149.50

Initial fee paid by farmer:

 $1,000


Substantiated dispute fee paid by FEP Auditor:

$4,784

Additional information

For more information, please contact our Customer Services on 0800 324636 or, if calling from Christchurch, 03 353 9007

Application Forms

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