• Andrew Thornhill

What to do if an auditee produces additional evidence after the audit

In this blog we are going to look at how to deal with a situation when auditees produce additional evidence at the end of the audit and whether that affects our audit findings.



Using a practical example from one of the earlier blogs… we have a road works crew, they have set up their traffic management barriers, there is about 5 guys / girls on site working.


The requirement we are looking at is “have all staff completed the safety induction prior to commencing work?”


At the time of the audit let’s say that there are records stating that two of them have had the induction but not the other three. We have identified what is clearly a non-conformance against that requirement.


An example of a situation we’re talking about is it might be at 11 o’clock in the morning and just before we’re going to our exit meeting, an hour and a half later, we get the site manager running back up and saying “Hang on we now have induction records for all of the staff”.


The question we really dealing with – Is that still a non-conformance or not?

I will give you two scenarios


Scenario 1:

If evidence had existed back at 11am when I asked that question, perhaps I was just interviewing the wrong person, the site manager doesn’t have all the induction records.

Perhaps after the site manager has inducted them, after a week or so those records go back to the HR manager in the office.


Maybe I wasn’t interviewing all the people I should have.


If those other 3 records did actually exist at 11am, I would look at that evidence by reviewing those extra records and seeing that it is pretty clear those staff had been inducted, we just hadn’t fully looked where all that evidence might be, and yes that genuinely might be a conformance finding rather than a non-conformance.


Scenario 2:

The one that does happen a little bit is the site manager might get the team together in the site shed and run the induction right now at 11.01am and 20 minutes later they have all genuinely completed the safety induction and they now have records for all people on site.

Technically, that still needs to be a non-conformance. It is great that they have taken action on it but if you look back on that requirement, it states that people must complete the safety induction before they commence work.


While it’s great the site manager has got everyone together, that is really just showing an ability to respond to a finding you have identified and doesn’t really show that they were aware of that gap in their system.


Yes, they’ve responded on this one occasion but if they engage 3 new staff next week it doesn’t necessarily demonstrate that they have really looked at the records and come up with a solution that will ensure that those new staff are inducted when they should be.

So that is still a non-conformance, we can explain it to the site manager, great but we want you to look in to this with a bit more detail.


Look at the root causes, take action on the root causes, and spend a bit more time because you need a solution that is going to work for you not just now but into the future as well.

RESOURCES:

Download the ‘Internal Audit Training – Simple’ Document template from our Resources Page under the training section at the bottom of the page.


OTHER AUDITING BLOGS:

Do you need an audit plan? (and how to create one)

How to gather OBJECTIVE audit evidence

How MUCH audit evidence is enough to draw a factual finding?

What you can do if the auditee is uncomfortable with the audit process

People skills that are important in the audit process

How to WRITE a clear audit finding statement


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