In all Second party and Third Party Audits, an Entry Meeting is required at the commencement of your visit to the auditee site. The purpose of this meeting is to give all interested parties an opportunity to confirm details and/or ask questions relating to the process.
The meeting may be small (consisting of a couple of Managers) or large (consisting of 20 or more people). Typically it’s attended by Managers and/or Supervisors representing the areas being audited as it also provides the opportunity to meet these people where you may have not already done so.
The following items should be covered in most Entry Meetings:
- Advise on what to expect throughout the audit and the techniques and approaches that may be used by the auditors
- Confirm the audit schedule
- Confirm objectives and scope of the audit
- Confirm logistical arrangements, such as meal times, amenities, transport requirements, visitor and OHS requirements, etc
- Estimate frequencies for progress updates
- Make any changes to plans, schedules and arrangements where necessary
- Obtain summaries from the respective Managers regarding any changes or developments within the business that may be relevant to the audit
- Obtain any initial and/or sample documentation required to commence the audit
- Identify a range of potential sources of information to seek during the audit
- Book specific times with auditee members for interviews.
TIP: Some auditees may be inclined to delay this process to reduce the available auditing time. Be aware of this and manage time wasting to ensure the Entry Meeting meets its intent and is an effective use of time.
Set the scene
When you arrive at the place of audit, it’s important to ‘set the scene’.
Simply put this is just a very brief overview on what you anticipate doing through your audit. This step is important to put the auditee/s at ease and to create an experience of openness.
An example may be:
‘I’m here to have a look at the bar service process to observe it’s effectiveness in serving beverages to patrons. I may ask some questions and look at records. This is just to obtain a better understanding of how things are done. I may take notes from time-to-time. This is to ensure my memory doesn’t fail me when it comes time to summarise my findings. Please feel free to query the direction of my questions at any time as this may help us to save time. I am required to collate a report of my findings at the end of the audit, but I will provide a verbal summary at the end of the audit, so the report shouldn’t raise any surprises. Is there anything you would like to know before I get started?’
Tip: Count the amount of times the word ‘you’ is used in the previous example. Be wary of your use of the ‘you’ when asking questions or making statements throughout the audit. If it is used too much it can make the auditee feel as if you’re there to check on them. Alternatively use words such as process, organization, system or ‘the’ when talking about a system or process. When ‘you’ is replaced by ‘the’ it changes the ownership of the system or processes to avoid making the auditee feel as if you are checking on them.
Furthermore, setting the scene is an opportunity for you to obtain an overview of the process from the auditee, which will form a good place to start your questions.
‘I’d like to get an overview of the process before I get started. Would you explain it to me?’
Another consideration for putting the auditee at ease is to touch on something other than the audit. Use small talk to break the ice. Perhaps you can discuss the footy results, the weather or the holiday you recently took. Just steer clear of gossip or innuendo as this is in conflict with the audit principles of professionalism and integrity.
While an auditor must maintain professionalism, a sense of humour can make the audit more enjoyable. An auditor with a sense of humour is usually welcomed back by any auditee. Remember, though, to leave the stand up comedy to the stand-up comedians.
Related Article: Certificate IV and Diploma in Quality Management FAQs
Published by: LMIT