So the external ISO Auditors are coming to your site and your team are a bit nervous. What do management and staff need to show the auditor?
What does the Auditor Need to See?
An external auditor can only make a finding of conformance or non-conformance against a clause in an ISO Management System Standard based on objective (factual) evidence.
Key sources of objective evidence include:
Records allow the auditor to verify consistent performance of a work task over time.
Note, that a record may not be required for every step in in your management or operational procedure. If that is the case, let the auditor know that you do not maintain a record for that step (in such cases, the auditor will need to use one of the sources of evidence below).
Interviewing staff helps an auditor verify that staff have understand how to implement workplace tasks in accordance with procedures or requirements of an ISO Standard.
Remind staff that an audit interview is conducted for the purpose of the audit only (i.e. it's not a performance review).
Demonstrating how you perform a task (e.g. setup a machine, plan a project) can be a great way of providing the evidence an auditor needs.
The auditor may also request related documents (e.g. reports, plans, correspondence, work instructions).
What Will I Be Audited Against?
Senior Management and Management
Senior Management are likely to be audited against Leadership clauses in Section 5 of the ISO Standards.
Senior management and management may also be involved in audit of clauses that relate to their functional responsibilities within the business (e.g. 7.1 Resources - for management personnel involved in allocating resources; 8.4 Control of externally provided processes, products and services - may involve the Procurement Manager).
Staff involved in production or service delivery activities are likely to be audited against procedures and work instructions that relate to your task.
Take the auditor step by step through the process and show them related records, documents, answer questions or demonstrate the process (observation).
Wherever possible, use a current example (e.g. a current project, batch or job).
What if I don’t Understand What the Auditor is Asking?
That’s ok – ask the auditor to re-phrase the question or give you an example. Alternately, seek clarification from your Supervisor.
What if the auditor asks me about a task I don’t perform?
Let the auditor know that you are not responsible for those steps.
Direct them to the responsible person or seek advice from your Supervisor.
A Powerpoint presentation is provided on our Resources page. You can use this content to coach your staff on the audit process.