In the Quality Auditing qualification you’ll learn about the different roles and responsibilities of the Audit Team.
The Lead Auditor is responsible for:
- Leading the team and deciding on allocation of audit activities
- Communicating with the auditee to confirm audit plans
- Monitoring the performance of auditors within the team
- Check for adequacy any checklists and other documented preparations of the audit team members
- Authorising the final report before being provided to the auditee
- Managing any conflicts between auditors and auditees
- Lead team meetings to discuss progress at regular intervals throughout the audit
- Decide upon any non-conformances or follow-up action required based on collated findings
- Conducting the entry and exit meetings
- Collating the findings of each auditor involved in the audit.
All other auditors are responsible for:
- Participate in the planning of the audit
- Prepare for the audits
- Submit checklists to the Lead Auditor for review of adequacy
- Report findings and perceived non-conformances to the lead auditor within sufficient timeframes
- Provide any information requiring follow-up actions
- Attend and participate in team meetings to report on progress
Pre audit discussion
In some cases a Lead Auditor or Audit Coordinator may have already carried this step out, in which case you wouldn’t need to, except to obtain the information regarding the discussion from the Lead Auditor or Audit Coordinator.
This is the step where the Lead Auditor makes contact with the auditee and/or relevant parties to confirm the requirement for an audit and arrange the following:
- Ascertain the audit history, organisational structure and organisational culture
- Time and date of the audit
- Confirm the scope of the audit
- Confirm the process or processes being reviewed
- Confirm roles and responsibilities of audit team members
- Confirm the availability of resources required to conduct the audit
- Confirm the audit criteria, i.e. standards, procedures, policies, etc
- Confirm agenda and attendees for entry and exit meetings
- Confirm details of other audit team members and their roles during the audit
- Ascertain any logistic or health and safety considerations; i.e. a special induction to enter the site, particular safety equipment required, etc.
It is imperative that initial contact be made some time before the audit to confirm the details enabling the auditee to schedule it in. Quality audits in particular are not designed to be ‘surprise’ audits to catch people out. Allowing the auditee enough time to prepare or schedule it within their ‘busy’ schedule will go a long way toward ensuring the auditee cooperates throughout the audit and happily provides the information you need. It should be noted that within Certification audits, the audits are required to be conducted within certain timeframes to comply with Certification rules.
The quality audit plan
In order to provide an auditee with clear details of the plan for the audit, Lead auditors are required to provide an auditee with a documented quality audit plan. This plan should include a schedule of future planned audits and also consist of documented details of the list of items listed in Pre audit discussion.
The Audit plan may vary after each audit is conducted due to new findings resulting in changed priorities for audit requirements. An audit report will require a note of further audit requirements, which in turn advises the auditee of the forthcoming change to the audit plan.
The Document Review will provide a clearer picture of audit requirements and is beneficial to prepare and submit to the auditee with the audit plan after the Document Review has been completed.
The auditor will need to review any documents pertaining to the scope of the audit. The auditor will need to obtain them from either the auditee or the audit coordinator.
These documents may include the following documents:
- Standard Operating Procedures
- Details of previous corrective actions
- Details of previous audits results.
So how do we review the documentation?
The aim of the review is:
- To obtain an understanding of the activities or process you’re about to audit and determining which parts of the documentation applies to the audit.
- To ascertain whether the documented system meets the requirements of the standard to determine when to plan the initial audit.
Examples of what to look for during a document review:
We can go through these documents and identify with highlighter which parts indicate a requirement, e.g. if our targeted area for audit was calibration of scales, there might be a requirement for a check every 6 months.
There might also be a requirement to record these results into a log book. The existing procedure states that the results should have been within 5 grams of the target. Immediately we have a query about what the results have been at the last couple of checks and what was done if they failed.
Further examination may reveal that the tolerance is tighter than is needed for this type of product but the same tolerance was used everywhere for simplicity, making it difficult to meet the requirements. We as auditors can at least assist our business by reporting this for consideration by the author of the procedure.
In the case of a system audit, the auditor is required to check whether the documented requirements, as described in the Management System Standard, are complied with in the organisation’s documented system.
Related Article: Certificate IV and Diploma in Quality Management FAQs