Freelance Auditor: – see Subcontractor.
Independence: Being independent and being perceived to be independent is necessary for an APSCA
Member Firm to deliver independent social compliance audits that provide conﬁdence. It is important that all
audit ﬁrm personnel are aware of the need for independence to conduct social compliance audits.
It is recognized that the source of revenue for an APSCA Member Firm is its client paying for social compliance
audit services, and this is a potential threat to independence.
It is essential that an APSCA Member Firm’s decisions be based on objective evidence obtained by the
Member Firm through Member Auditors, and that its decisions are not inﬂuenced by other interests.
Threats to independence may include, but are not limited to, the following:
Self-interest: a Member Firm and/or Member Auditor acting in their own interest, including ﬁnancial
interests and interests relating to the provision of social compliance audit services to clients where other
services are also provided.
Self-review: a Member Auditor reviewing the work done by themselves or another member of the same
ﬁrm; e.g., auditing the management systems of a client for whom the Member Firm and/ or Member
Auditor provided management systems consultancy on related topics.
Familiarity (and trust): a Member Firm and/ or Member Auditor being too familiar with or trusting of
another person instead of seeking audit evidence.
Intimidation: a Member Firm and/ or Member Auditor having a perception of being coerced openly or
covertly, such as a threat to be replaced or reported to a supervisor.
Management of Independence
Social compliance audit services shall be undertaken independently. All audit ﬁrm personnel, who could
inﬂuence social compliance audit services, shall act independently and shall not allow commercial,
ﬁnancial or other pressures to compromise their independence.
The Member Firm shall have top management commitment to independence in social compliance
audit services. The Member Firm shall have a policy stating that it understands the importance of
independence in carrying out its social compliance audit services, manages conﬂicts of interest and
ensures the objectivity and eﬀectiveness of same. The Member Firm shall require all audit ﬁrm personnel
to reveal any situation which can present them or the Member Firm with a conﬂict of interest. Member Firms
shall record and use this information as input to identify threats to independence raised by the activities of
audit ﬁrm personnel or by their relationship with organizations that commission their services.
The Member Firm shall have a process to:
Identify, analyze, evaluate, treat, monitor, and document the risks related to conﬂict of interest
arising from provision of social compliance audit services including any conﬂict which arises from
its relationships on an ongoing basis. Sources of threats to independence of the Member Firm
can be based on ownership, governance, management, personnel, shared resources, ﬁnances,
contracts, training, marketing and payment of a sales commission or other inducement for the
referral of new clients.
Where there are threats to independence, the Member Firm shall document and demonstrate how
it eliminates or minimizes such threats and document any residual risk. The demonstration shall
cover all potential threats that are identiﬁed, whether they arise from within the Member Firm or
from the activities of other persons, bodies or organizations.
The Member Firm shall not conduct an audit when the Member Firm (including, but not limited to,
owners, managers, or auditors) has a business interest in the outcome of the audit (this includes, but is
not limited to, fees or other business contingent on the outcome of the audit).
The Member Firm shall not perform social compliance audit services at any facility where the Member Firm,
its owners or managers have provided social compliance consultancy within the preceding two (2) years.
To ensure there is no conﬂict of interest, audit ﬁrm personnel who have provided consultancy,
including those acting in a managerial capacity, shall not be used by the Member Firm to take part in
a social compliance audit or other social compliance audit services if they have been involved in social
compliance consultancy for the client in the preceding two (2) years.
Independent Translator: An individual with language skills allowing for communication with workers or
management and the auditor. In all cases, the individual shall have no relationship with either the facility or
the local authorities and will have executed a non-disclosure agreement.
Version & Date
APSCA Glossary of Terms D-031
Version 7 – May 2023
Version 6 – November 2022
This document is no longer version controlled once printed.
Page 3 of 6
APSCA President & CEO
APSCA Executive Board