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iso 19001
ISO 19011

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The first edition of ISO 19001 effective 10/1/02 is meant to replace ISO 10011-1through 3, and ISO 14010 through 12. It provides guidance for conducting internal and external audits of both environmental and quality management systems including principles of auditing, management of audit programs, conducting audits and competencies of auditors. It is intended for use by auditors, organizations needing to be audited and certification bodies.

Five principles of auditing are initially described in the document including ethical conduct, fair presentation, due professional care, independence, and evidence based approach. The key point is that without adherence to these five principles, audits will not be effective and reliable.

The management of audit programs involves seven distinct activities organized as a classic plan-do-check-act process as list below. This is invaluable guidance for anyone responsible for managing an internal audit program. In essence, it is a checklist of the things to consider when putting together your program.

  • Authority for audit program
  • Establishing the audit program
  • Implementing the audit program
  • Competence and evaluation of auditors
  • Audit activities
  • Monitoring and reviewing the audit program
  • Improving the audit program

Audit activities are described as a process involving eight steps outlined below. This is the heart of the auditing. All of the details necessary to organize and conduct an audit are covered. Every auditor should be thoroughly and properly trained to follow this process.

  • Initiating the audit
  • Conducting the document review
  • Preparing for the on-site audit activities
  • Conducting the on-site activities
  • Preparing, approving and distributing the audit report
  • Completing the audit
  • Conducting audit follow-up

Of course, the most critical element for effective and efficient audits is competent auditors. ISO 19001 anticipates ensuring this by not only selecting good auditors in the first place, but by evaluating and improving them over time. Auditors should be selected initially based upon personal attributes, education and experience, and knowledge and skills. They then need to be monitored and measured, and improved as necessary.

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