The challenge

With such a large network of employees, business travel is an essential element of ensuring the company operates efficiently and effectively. In 2021, the International Organization for Standardization issued new travel risk management guidance: ISO 31030. ISO 31030 will become the new global benchmark for travel risk management, helping organisations make the right decisions to support their employees within a framework of good practice guidance developed by a global community of experts. Initially issued as best practice guidance, the standard is now being implemented by standards bodies across the globe.

PwC prides itself on providing a safe and secure environment for its employees and demonstrating its commitment to living its values, which includes a strong commitment to its people and a desire to provide a safe and secure workplace wherever these people are working.

ISO 31030 offered the opportunity for PwC to demonstrate to its people, and the wider world, its commitment to high levels of risk management for its travelling employees. The company already believed it operated to the highest standards of travel risk management but wanted to independently assess its policies and practices against the new ISO standard.

The solution

PwC called on GSA Global to independently audit and assess its travel risk management policies and practices against the new standard. GSA Global created and runs the first independently audited assessment programme for organisations that wish to demonstrate full compliance to the standards of ISO 31030. GSA Global’s ISO 31030 assessment is independently audited by SFJ Awards, a government regulated awarding organisation that provides qualifications and accreditation programmes for individuals and organisations globally.

GSA Global provided PwC with an overview of the requirements needed to comply with the new ISO standard and a clear timeline over which PwC could provide evidence of policies and practices to GSA Global, backed up with interviews with key personnel responsible for travel risk management. The evidence gathering and assessment process was conducted over four days both on-site and remotely.

PwC provided all relevant information to GSA Global for audit and confirmation of compliance. GSA Global’s auditors were then able to provide SFJ Awards with a recommendation supported by the assessed evidence that PwC was adhering to the new standard. SJF Awards reviewed all the material and were content to issue the very first ISO 31030 Certificate of Readiness Assessment and Audit to PwC.

The independent ISO 31030 readiness assessment and audit enables PwC to demonstrate to its people and the wider community its ongoing commitment to the highest levels of travel risk management and mitigation, providing employees with the reassurance that, when they travel, they are in the safest possible hands. For PwC, early compliance with the ISO 31030 standard both demonstrates proactive commitment to excellence in all areas but is also an independent verification of the high levels of care they offer to travelling employees.

Q&A with Richard Stanley, UK Security Lead at PwC

What made you choose GSA Global to undertake this important piece of work for PwC?

GSA Global has a strong reputation and heritage in the assessment of corporate travel safety and security. We were aware that the company was instrumental in shaping the ISO 31030 standards, both globally and in terms of the UK implementation.

GSA Global has the knowledge, expertise and familiarity with travel safety that we believed were essential to properly evaluating our programme against the ISO standard. The fact that the GSA Global assessments are all independently certified by SFJ Awards provided the additional assurance that we were working with a company that had the credentials and verifiable expertise to help us ensure our travel risk management programme was best in class.

How has your travel risk management been managed in the past and how has that been impacted by ISO 31030?

We have always been committed to the highest levels of excellence and this extends to areas such as travel risk management. However, the absence of a global standard of best practice has limited our ability to independently verify our policies and practices, which was frustrating.

For this reason, we welcomed the publication of ISO 31030. By working with GSA Global we were able to demonstrate our compliance with the standard through certification backed by a government authorised awarding organisation.

How did you find the experience?

Our experience of the accreditation process and the GSA Global auditors was extremely positive.

We received clear communications of what was going to happen with adequate time to prepare the relevant documentation and interviews. It was obvious from the start that the GSA Global auditors were experienced and practical experts. The audit was rigorous but was conducted in a way that avoided undue disruption to our business. All timescales and deliverables were met so our experience with GSA Global was entirely positive. We were delighted to receive the first ever ISO 31030 Certificate of Readiness Assessment and Audit.

What benefits do you think accreditation brings to PwC and why was it important to you that you achieved it?

This certification recognises our work over many years to ensure our travel risk management process effectively identifies and manages the risks to our travelling personnel. It serves to remind our clients, our colleagues and the travel sector that we are an organisation that places the safety and security of our people as one of its highest priorities.