Demonstrating due diligence: What's wrong with pen and paper

Demonstrating due diligence: What’s wrong with the traditional method?

The below content was written prior to May 2020 when Checkit launched a new website. This coincided with the use of updated terminology for solutions, concepts and company names. The companies Tutela, Axon and Next Control Systems are now Checkit. Checkit’s Real-time Operations Management is now referred to as Connected Workflow Management, Tutela solutions are now referred to as Automated Monitoring +, and Axon/Next Control Systems solutions are now referred to as Connected Building Management.

Demonstrating Due Diligence

In a recent White Paper on food safety law, Malcolm Kane looks at the practicalities of demonstrating due diligence. You can download the full White Paper here.

The traditional method of demonstrating due diligence in food safety has been by presenting the original paper-based records, complete with smudges and fingerprints, that were taken at the time of the relevant food service operation. In principle this is satisfactory.

Demonstrating due diligence

In practice, however, a great number of difficulties exist, all of which cast doubt on the ability of paper-based records to adequately prove due diligence:

Demonstrating due diligence - Why food safety records matter white paper

Some major food poisoning cases have involved EHO enforcement officers extracting paper records of several hundreds of individual documentary files, occupying possibly a dozen box files, scrutinized retrospectively for gaps, weaknesses, inconsistencies and, worse, actual evidence of non-compliance with no accompanying corrective action.

Not only does such evidence reflect upon the failures of the business, they also reflect upon the culpable negligence of the FBO, and have been successfully used in pursuit of this.

Even framed certificates of attending a food hygiene course have been removed from the FBO’s office wall to be used in Court as evidence of fore-knowledge of the food safety issue involved, for the purpose of reinforcing the seriousness of the offence at the sentencing stage.

Few businesses, large or small, find their paper documentary records are adequate to this degree of scrutiny. Such scrutiny invariably follows from a food poisoning incident, and the position of the FBO involved can be precariously exposed by typical paper records.

It is for this reason that many are now looking towards new technology that offers more reliable, automated methods of record creation, analysis, actioning, summary and storage.

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