Online Account FAQs
Questions about your new online account
We understand you might have some questions regarding your new online account. Hopefully, you'll find everything you need to know below. If you can't find what you're looking for please don't hesitate to get in touch.
What is an Organic Plan?
The Organic Plan, completed by you, describes how your business meets the requirements of the Soil Association Standards and EC Organic Regulations and helps to make the inspection process as easy and efficient as possible. It is also a requirement of the EC Organic regulations that all operators have an Organic Plan.
You can access your Organic Plan using your online certification account.
Why do I need an Organic Plan now?
It’s always been a requirement of the EC Organic regulation (889/2008) that operators draw up and maintain, a description of: ’… the practical measures to be taken at the level of the unit and/or premises and/or activity to ensure compliance with the Organic production/processor rules’
Previously, the report completed by the inspector at your inspection and signed off by you covered this requirement. However, this meant we were asking you the same questions every year and the inspector completing a report each year, comprising mostly of the same responses
This duplication will be avoided by you owning the Plan, reviewing it regularly and only making changes as & when your management practices change.
Why are you asking me for additional information in the Plan that has not been requested at previous inspections?
All the questions in your Plan are based on requirements of the Soil Association standards, which incorporate the EC regulation. It’s not possible to cover every part of the relevant standards at each inspection, so some of the Plan questions may refer to information we have not asked from you routinely in the past.
The Plans provide an opportunity for us to manage your certification in a much more targeted and effective way.
The information isn’t just for the inspection, but helps….. us do more with the information we have, for example targeting our communication more effectively or letting you know about opportunities for your business.
Where possible we have used the information we already hold to partially complete your Plan, however will ask you to review it to provide more detail where necessary (i.e. to ensure the information remains accurate and up to date).
When do I need to complete my Plan?
Applicants will be asked to complete a Plan as part of the application process.For existing licensees, the Plans will be introduced gradually.
Accessing your Plan
When will I have access to my on-line account?
For existing licensees, the Plan and on-line accounts are being rolled out gradually.
You’ll be provided with details of your account log-in, in plenty of time to allow you to review and start completing the Plan ahead of your inspection.
Can I print my Organic Plan?
Yes, it is possible to create a PDF version which can be printed. To do this from your online account select the edit button for the Plan you want to print and then the Download/Print button.
I’ve forgotten my log-in details, what do I do?
Click on the ‘Forgotten password’ button - it will ask you to detail your email address. Clicking on ‘Send reset link’ will generate a link to your email inbox.
By clicking on this link you can generate a new password.
I don’t have good access to the internet, can I do a hard copy Organic Plan instead?
Yes. We’re able to provide paper copies of the Plan for anyone who doesn’t have access to the internet. Please let your Certification Officer know if you need a paper version.
How will you keep my information confidential and secure now it is all online?
Your data always be securely encrypted using a SSL certificate both on our Website and our internal databases.
Completing Your Plan
How long will it take me to complete the Organic Plan?
The time required to complete your Plan initially, depends on the number of Organic enterprises you have, as each enterprise has its own questions.
We anticipate that each section of the Organic Plan will take approximately 10 to 30 minutes to complete.
You should review your Plan at least annually and update if any changes occur to your operation (e.g. new enterprises, new procedures).
I don’t know the answer to one of the questions on my Organic Plan, what do I do?
Guidance is provided to help you answer the Organic Plan question
A link to the relevant standards is provided to help understand why we ask the question and what information we are looking for in your answers
If you need any additional assistance please contact your Certification Officer who will be happy to assist you.
Can anyone in the business write the Organic Plan, or does it have to be the owner?
Any person with sufficient information about your business operation can complete the Organic Plan. You will just need to make sure they have the log-in details and password for the on-line account.
What information will I need to fill out my Organic Plan?
You may want to refer to the existing procedures and processes, or other management plans you already have
We can provide you with previous copies of your inspection reports.
If any questions in the Plan are answered by existing documentation, just reference these in the answer and email copies to your Certification Officer.
Can I fill my Organic Plan out bit by bit, or do I need to do it all in one go?
You don’t need to complete your Plan in one go
Clicking the ‘save’ function will save the Plan as you go, allowing you to complete the Plan at a time which suits you.
Can you help me complete my Organic Plan?
Most questions have an information icon, which will display some guidance
Your Certification officer will also be happy to help you with any queries.
Keeping your Plan up to date
I’ve made some changes to my business, do I have to update my Organic Plan and if so when?
Yes. We want you to own the information in the Plan and keep it up-to-date throughout the year – this will help ensure your inspection and licence renewal is as straightforward as possible.
You can update your Organic Plan at any time by accessing it through your on-line account. We’ll ask you to review and update your Plan prior to your annual inspection.
If I update my Organic Plan do I have to tell you?
Once you click the ‘submit Plan’ button, your Certification Officer will automatically be notified. No need to do anything else.
If you’re completing a paper copy please fax or post the updated copy to us.
I want to add a new enterprise (e.g. new species of livestock, new production process/product type etc.) to my licence, how can I add this to my Plan?
If you wish to add a new enterprise to your licence, please contact your certification officer – we’ll add the relevant question to your Plan for you to complete and help ensure you are meeting the required standards
We may need to inspect the new enterprise before adding it to your certificate – this could be done as part of your renewal inspection or as a stand-alone inspection if needed sooner.
Your Plan’s role in your certification
How is my Organic Plan used at my inspection?
Your Organic Plan describes the systems, practices and procedures in place, to ensure your business meets with Organic standards.
Before the inspection, your certification officer will review your Plan against the standards – they will either ‘approve’ each section or request more information.
The inspector will use the Plan during the inspection and verify the information.
You’ll no longer receive a detailed inspection report at the end of your inspection - as this information should already be in your Plan.
Instead, the inspector will present a summary of any actions & comments arising from the inspection for you to sign off.
Will I get a non-compliance if I fill in my Plan incorrectly?
Non-compliances will only be issued when we find that your business is being managed in a way which breaches the Organic standards or statutory requirements. Where we find the Plan contains incorrect information we will request that you revise your Plan following your inspection.
If I don’t complete my Plan will this affect my inspection?
We will request that your Plan is completed or updated prior to your inspection.
If this is not possible your inspection will still take place however, there may be more of a focus on collecting and documenting some of the information that would usually be in the Plan; or alternatively, the inspector may ask you to provide the information following the inspection as a condition of issuing or renewing your licence. This is likely to increase the time needed at inspection and the time required to renew your licence.