Technology Assisted Assessments

Janet Davison McGown, our Director Assessor Performance, on the benefits of TA Assessments

To ensure assessments can continue through the COVID-19 pandemic, we have adjusted our assessment methodology and have moved into computer-assisted assessment. We refer to these audits as Technology Assisted, or TA Assessments.

We’ve developed a full Fact Sheet about TA Assessments which you can download here.

The way auditing has been conducted until now has not changed much from the time of the introduction of standards. Requirements for “Computer Assisted Auditing Techniques” have been in operation since 2008. But, with the impact of a world-wide pandemic, the global use of technology has now occurred.

TA Assessments provide an immediate, straightforward and effective assessment experience from a distance. As we have gained experience with TA Assessments, we have found that there is little by way of process to differentiate TA Assessments from “on-site” assessment. The technology available today means this approach is equivalent to traditional methods of auditing with human, economic and environmental advantages outweighing the few disadvantages that exist.

What technology is involved?

Meetings and interviews

For all meetings during an assessment, HDAA assessors use Zoom video conferencing meetings.

Zoom took a bad rap initially because people said that the security is not up to standard.  That’s not the case anymore, with Zoom now operating with 256-bit encryption that provides an equivalent security rating to manage top secret government information.

Our assessors are all trained in the use of Zoom and our processes reflect best practices for privacy and confidentiality using this specific technology. Participants and consumers may opt to be interviewed via Zoom or by phone.

Document sharing and review

We’ve developed a new Client Gateway, which is securely maintained on our system using Australian assisted cloud servers. The Gateway provides a secure pathway for our clients to upload evidence documents such as policies and procedures. An HDAA Gateway is set up for each organisation during the planning phase of your assessment. Access to your Gateway will be sent by email to the key contact person at your organisation and require an authentication activity to be completed prior to access being obtained.

For more sensitive documents or those that can’t be uploaded to the Gateway for logistical reasons, organisations can share their screen. The assessor will then guide the person sharing the screen (e.g., when to scroll down, what to click on, and where to pause).

Do organisations feel that Technology Assisted Assessments are beneficial?

Post-assessment responses from organisations and assessors have been positive. Overall, people find the process less intrusive, less stressful and more accessible and inclusive to staff and management (they can attend assessment meetings irrespective of geographical location). Assessors have found more time can be spent in high risk areas such as incident reviews and increasing sample sizes of staff files if needed.

HDAA is an advocate for Technology Assisted Assessment. Not only does TA Assessments reduce direct and indirect costs, it has resulted in a high level of satisfaction by service providers and assessors and is comparable to on-site only methods of assessment.

 

 

Want to know more? Click here to download our Frequently Asked Questions (TAA) guide. 

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