More and more shoots are opening up their release pens to British Game Assurance auditors in a bid to show best practice. However, some have shunned the process as they are worried about failing. We meet the BGA auditors to debunk the myths and explain what actually happens on the day.
When you think of an auditor you’d be forgiven for imagining a serious character armed with a clipboard eager to find fault. Understandably this unnerving parody might put-off some shoots from signing up to British Game Assurance (BGA) membership for fear of failing the inspection and word getting out. The prospect of having your pride-and-joy rearing pens perused by an auditor who knows nothing about the countryside or game shooting is hardly appealing. However the reality is very different. Here, we speak to Sarah Broomhead and Tom Moore who are auditors from SAI Global Assurance, BGA’s appointed Certification Body, to debunk the myths surrounding the process and the people.
Last June SAI Global was selected by BGA after a tendering process to audit and carry out assessments on registered shoots and game farms to show they adhere to the highest welfare and environmental standards by embracing the BGA standards and ensuring traceability within the food chain from egg to plate. It was a great fit for SAI Global to move into this area which suits the skill set of many of the existing auditors. Sarah and Tom – along with the team and scheme manager Alex MacKellar travel the country auditing BGA-registered shoots against either the lowland or upland standards.
“We get that the idea of being audited can feel daunting,” commented Yorkshire-based Sarah, adding: “I’d like to think we bring a fresh approach. I am 29 and actively partake in shooting. I have been beating since I could walk and I have worked my two labradors for the past 11 seasons picking-up on a local grouse moor.” Likewise, Norfolk-based Tom is aged just 28 and cut his teeth as an underkeeper for three years after completing a diploma in gamekeeping and wildlife conservation. “Once the shoot owner and gamekeeping team actually meet us on the day of the audit, they feel at ease. They soon realise that we are not here to pass or fail them, but to help them achieve the standards. Most shoots do not achieve assured status on first inspection. While we are not in an advisory role, we can point out what needs to be worked on and point them in the right direction.”
So what happens on audit day? Find out in Volume V, Issue II. Click HERE to buy.