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The Audit Process and Special Audits

What is an Audit and What is the Audit Process?

“*The definition of an audit is: A systematic, independent and documented process for obtaining audit evidence and evaluating it objectively to determine the extent to which audit criteria are fulfilled”. *(ISO 9000:2015)

What does this mean? Well it means that the senior management of Independent European Certification Limited are committed to provide your company with an impartial assessment process by effectively managing any conflicts of interest and ensures the objectivity of our management system certification activities by using skilled, competent auditors with experience in your industry. The auditor or audit team will ask you a series of questions about your business in relation to the standard for which you are applying and examine a sample number of records.

The auditors we employ are highly competent in looking at your particular industry and are trained to add value to your audit experience, which means that, whilst they are not permitted to give you advice, they are permitted to identify areas of improvement within your business to add value, perhaps reduce time and cost for example.

In simple terms they are a fresh pair of experienced and competent eyes looking to add benefit to the audit.  Therefore Independent European Certification Limited believes the purpose of an audit is for improvement and/or positive correction and not an inspection activity.

ISO Accreditation Chart 1

For clarification, once the initial report has been approved and certification awarded by the Certification Panel, the certificate reports three dates.

  1. Firstly, on a positive recommendation the certificate start date coincides with the date when the certification decision was made.
  2. Secondly, if any alterations are made to the certificate at a later date, these are recorded in the date of revision.
  3. Thirdly, all certificates are valid for a 3 year period, expiring three years after the date of the last day of the initial successful audit.

Special audits

Expanding and reducing scopes

ECG will in response to an application for expanding the scope of a certification already granted, undertake a review of the application and determine any audit activities necessary to decide whether or not the extension may be granted. This may be conducted in conjunction with a surveillance audit.

ECG will in response to an application for extension/reduction to scope of a certification already granted, undertake a review of the application and the Certification/Deputy Manager using the contract review form decide the necessary audit activities either as a partial assessment covering the scope extension/reduction areas only (this may be carried out as part of a surveillance visit) or a full reassessment

Short notice audits

It may be necessary for ECG to conduct audits of certified clients at short notice or unannounced to investigate complaints, or in response to changes, or as follow up on suspended clients. In such cases:

  1. ECG describe and make known in advance to the certified clients the conditions under which such audits will be conducted;
  2. ECG do exercise additional care in the assignment of the audit team because of the lack of opportunity for the client to object to audit team members.

Suspending, withdrawing or reducing the scope of certification

ECG have a policy and documented procedure(s) for suspension, withdrawal or reduction of the scope of certification:

Suspend certification in cases when, for example:

  1. The client’s certified management/product system has persistently or seriously failed to meet certification requirements, including requirements for the effectiveness of the management system
  2. the certified client does not allow surveillance or recertification audits to be conducted at the required frequencies;
  3. the certified client has voluntarily requested a suspension.

Under suspension, the client’s management/product system certification is temporarily invalid.

ECG will restore the suspended certification if the issue that has resulted in the suspension has been resolved. Failure to resolve the issues that have resulted in the suspension within 6 months will result in withdrawal or reduction of the scope of certification.

ECG will reduce the scope of certification to exclude the parts not meeting the requirements, when the certified client has persistently or seriously failed to meet the certification requirements for those parts of the scope of certification. Any such reduction is in line with the requirements of the standard used for certification.

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