APSCA Newsletter March 2021

31/03/2021 - No Comments

APSCA Newsletter March 2021

In February and March, APSCA’s Disciplinary Board for Member Auditors (DBMA) met to review 40 individual cases of exam misconduct by auditors associated with three Member Firms. The DBMA reviewed the evidence provided by a rigorous independent investigation of exam misconduct, and the methodology used by APSCA to analyze over 1,000 APSCA Part I exams in late 2019 and 2020. Exams were analyzed resulting in sanctions issued by the DBMA. More on this latest ethics and integrity investigation below. 

During March, we continued to receive auditor enrollments, further increasing our Auditor Membership.   APSCA welcomed two new Provisional Firm Members and one firm attaining Full Membership status.  Also as previously communicated, we are pleased to launch in mid-April the Part I CSCA Exam in three additional languages:  Turkish, Italian and Portuguese.  These additional languages will continue to support APSCA’s CSCA Examination program.

More on the latest announcements provided below.


In this this issue:

  • Ethics and Integrity
  • April Launch – Part I Turkish, Italian, and Portuguese
  • CSCA Examination Progress 
  • Member Firm Announcements
  • Executive Board Appointments
  • Auditor Exams – Updates & Reminders
  • Member Auditors – Lapsed? 
  • CSCA Examination Progress
  • Meet the Team
  • Auditor Enrollments
  • Resource Library
  • FAQs

      Ethics and Integrity

 On February 25th and March 5th the Disciplinary Board for Member Auditors (DBMA) met to review 40 individual cases of exam misconduct by auditors associated with three Member Firms. Based on an independent investigation, it was found that unauthorized practice/mock exams were created from actual APSCA test material, and the resulting allegations reviewed by the DBMA included:

  • Realizing an unfair advantage by studying the APSCA Part I Mock Exams
  • Sharing Mock Exams with auditors associated with multiple Member Firms
  • Not reporting the knowledge and distribution of the Mock Exams

The DBMA reviewed the evidence provided by a rigorous independent investigation of exam misconduct, and the methodology used by APSCA to analyze over 1,000 APSCA Part I exams in late 2019 and 2020.  The methodology incorporated accepted methods used within the testing industry to identify exam indicators of test-takers who realized a competitive advantage by gaining familiarity with test material prior to taking an actual exam.  APSCA used the same criteria and interpretation of results for all exams analyzed.

The DBMA substantiated all allegations, and the resulting sanctions included:

  • Suspension of APSCA Membership, and Required to Re-sit the APSCA Part I Exam: 6 auditors.  The suspension time ranged from 1 month to 1 year.
  • Warning Letter and Required to Re-sit the APSCA Part I Exam: 29 auditors
  • Warning Letter: 5 auditors

90 additional cases are currently being reviewed based on allegations of realizing an unfair advantage while taking the APSCA Part I Exam, and not reporting knowledge of the Mock Exams. 


April Launch – Part I Exam Available in Turkish, Italian, and Portuguese!                


APSCA is excited to launch Part I Exam in Turkish, Italian, and Portuguese, with more languages to come soon!

Eligible auditors can now book their Part I Exam in Turkish, Italian, and PortuguesePlease work with your firm to ensure you are following the process.

Reminder: For all CSCA Exams (Parts I – III) Auditors must consult with their Member Firm to confirm eligibility to sit each exam.

Please ensure you follow the guidance in the Auditor Handbook and notify APSCA prior to enrolling for any exam.

CSCA Examination Progress

APSCA continues to make progress towards the roll-out of exams in our 6 new languages.  We recently uploaded Turkish, Italian, and Portuguese to the existing Chinese and Spanish list of translated resources found in the Resource Library, which supports the launch of these languages.

Turkish, Italian and Portuguese Part I have launched with the questions being added to the exam site and are going through a verification process. Part II in these 3 language will be available soon.  We will keep you informed once the additional languages are ready to be launched.


Member Firm Announcements
We are pleased to congratulate our newest provisional APSCA Member Firms URS Verification PVT. LTD. and GCL International Ltd.  and full Member Firm Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency (HKQAA) on their commitment to the realization of APSCA’s mission “To enhance the Professionalism and Credibility of individuals and organizations performing independent social compliance audits”.

Provisional Members: 


Full Members:


Executive Board Appointments
During February and March we have farewelled two long term members of our Executive Board:

  • Effie Marinos (SGS) has retired. We thank her for her ongoing support the last few years and look forward to Effie’s continued support while she enjoys her retirement. Thank you, Effie!
  • Brendan Morrissey (Walmart) has had a change of role within Walmart. We have appreciated his time and contributions to APSCA efforts. Thank you, Brendan!

Both leave an indelible mark on APSCA and our progress was enhanced because of their support.

April sees us welcome Ollivier Bellet as our newest Executive Board member. Ollivier is the Global Responsible Business Services (RBS) Manager at SGS, responsible for the management and execution of second party assessments across the globe.
Read more about Ollivier Bellet

MEMBER AUDITORS – Has your account status been moved to “lapsed”?
Member Auditors with a member status of ‘Lapsed’ may be due to one or all of the following reasons:

  • 2021 Membership Fees have not been issued and/or paid and/or
  • 2020 Membership Fees were not paid and/or
  • 2021 Consent (via online profile) has not been provided.

Check your APSCA profile to see if this relates to you and if you have any questions? Email: data.administrator@theapsca.org

Reminder: Auditors who have an APSCA Membership Status of “Lapsed” cannot conduct social compliance audits/ consultancy services for an APSCA Member Firm.

Definition of a ‘Lapsed’: 

An APSCA Member who has NOT maintained one or more of the requirements to be considered ‘In Good Standing’ cannot:

  • use their APSCA Member Number on a Social Compliance Audit
  • actively participate in any capacity within a Social Compliance Audit.
  • present themselves as an APSCA Member at any time.

Note:  Upon a Member Auditors status lapsing, the Auditor, regardless of their previous status, will be moved to the level of ASCA and noted as “Lapsed” for Membership Status.

Ensure you are aware of definition and impact of your status.

CSCA Examination Progress

March saw an increase of 83% in the sitting of Part II examinations as Auditors advanced in either English or Spanish took the exam to meet the 31 March 2021 deadline.  We still are seeing a decline in the overall pass rate, largely attributable to Part II examination results.  APSCA now have approx. 300 Auditors achieve Certified Social Compliance Auditor (CSCA) status as more Auditors continue to progress through our examination certification process.
APSCA’s President and CEO Rona Starr commented ” Fluctuation in results are to be expected and as examinations assess the unique competencies of social compliance auditors, the exams reveal opportunities for improvement as a means to cultivate industry credibility and position our Members and Certified Social Compliance Auditors (CSCA) as the trusted professionals of Social Compliance Auditing. With this in mind, it is important we equate successful exam results with the recognition of an Auditors’ requisite skills, knowledge and competencies


For all CSCA Exams (Parts I – III) Auditors must consult with their Member Firm to confirm eligibility to sit each exam. Please ensure you follow the guidance in the Auditor Handbook and notify APSCA prior to enrolling for any exam; failure to follow the guidance, may see the exam disallowed and being unable to sit for a period up to 12 months. 

CSCA Exam Part I is available in seven languages (English, Spanish, Simplified & Traditional Chinese, Turkish, Portuguese, and Italian), Part II in four languages  (English, Spanish, Simplified & Traditional Chinese), and Part III is available in English, Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese.   

Please see our website, Resource Library for more information

Meet The Team – *New*

Visit the Our Team page on APSCA’s website to see the team behind the organization! 


Auditor Enrollments

As at 24 March 2021, total enrolled Auditors exceeded 4,100 with a summary by Auditor level provided below.



To better serve our Membership and interested parties, we established a Resource Library on APSCA’s website. The library provides a comprehensive directory of member documents, key dates, exam guides, webinars for ease of access, and more! 

To further enhance this page, we have added:

Key messages will be posted to the new ‘announcements’ section for both general and exam related topics. Announcements will be updated on an ongoing basis. 

Policies (Latest) 
APSCA’s latest policies are available for viewing. The videos provide an overview of policies presented at APSCA’s 2020 AGM & Stakeholder Event, including: Auditor Status, Subcontractors, and Continuous Professional Development (CPD).

Document Translations
Further to our existing member documents, available in English, Spanish, and Chinese (Simplified & Traditional), APSCA is in the process of translating member documents in additional languages to better serve our global membership and community. Additional updates will be provided in due course though we encourage you to regularly review the Resource Page to see the latest documents and translations as they are released.

Visit our website to access the resources.

Check out APSCA’s FAQ page – it has been recently updated.
Don’t see a question / answer you’re looking for? Contact us at director@theapsca.org.

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Disciplinary Action (Member Firm) – March 2021

01/03/2021 - No Comments


The Association of Professional Social Compliance Auditors (APSCA) announced today that it has revoked the membership of Leverage Limited.

APSCA determined that Leverage’s conduct related to the improper copying and distribution of APSCA’s certification exam questions violated Sections 1.1. (Accountability) and 2.3 (Integrity Management) of APSCA’s Code and Standards of Professional Conduct (Code). After a thorough investigation by an outside firm, the decision to revoke Leverage’s membership was made by the APSCA Disciplinary Board for Member Firms, made up of experienced professionals who are independent of any APSCA Member Firm. Upon appeal, the decision was affirmed by APSCA’s Executive Board on February 17, 2021.  All proceedings were conducted in accordance with APSCA’s Disciplinary Framework and Procedures, which are publicly available at https://www.theapsca.org/ethics-integrity.

Although APSCA has, on several occasions in the past, revoked the membership of individual member auditors, this is the first time APSCA has revoked the membership of a member firm following disciplinary proceedings. 

APSCA’s President and CEO, Rona Starr stated that “APSCA exists to enhance the professionalism, consistency and credibility of the individuals and organizations performing independent social compliance audits.  The imposition of disciplinary sanctions on individual auditors and members firms who violate our professional standards is not taken lightly and is an important component of our efforts to achieve these goals for the social compliance industry.”

For further information, please refer to the APSCA website at www.theapsca.org or contact Rona Starr at rona.starr@theapsca.org.


Our news and thoughts on the Social Compliance industry

Press Release

Industry Press Releases

​Verite  in partnership with the /  UN Special Rapporteur on Human Trafficking held a workshop 31 October 2016 in New York, which many of APSCA members attended.  Follow this link to see their press release.  To get involved, contact Philip Hunter from Verite

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