An Internal Audit examines the operation of your management system. This provides top level management with the information needed to ascertain whether the system is operating effectively or if any changes need to be made.
For a list of the types of audit there are, see the section below, ‘Types of Audit’. For now though we’ll concentrate on Internal and External Audits.
An Internal Audit is performed within the organisation by auditors who are employed by the organisation, but who should have no vested interest in the audit results of the area being audited.
An External Audit can either be an audit carried out by an interested third party, such as the customer of a supplier, or be an audit carried out by an independent, third party, audit organisation (such as a Certification Body) that is free of any conflict of interest, for certification, registration, verification, etc.
So what is the purpose of the Internal Audit?
For Organisations with a formal Management System in place, such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, or ISO 45001, this is a requirement of the Standard, which means it must be done. It is there to serve several purposes:
When should Internal Audits be carried out?
Organisations with a certified Management System should conduct internal audits at planned intervals throughout the year. This will enable you to regularly determine whether the system in question conforms to the requirements of the Standard, the processes and procedures detailed within your Management System, and is effectively implemented and maintained.
Types of Audit
Audits take many forms, first, second and third party, accredited & non-accredited.
First Party Audits
An internal audit of your systems, sometimes carried out as an impartial check of your operations, or maybe as an internal audit prior to your accredited certification audit. Perhaps your company doesn’t have an in-house internal auditor, or requires an independent systems check for compliance verification.
Second Party Audits
Usually carried out on your suppliers or prospective suppliers and may be paid for by them to assure you that their systems are in place to satisfy your company’s needs. Everything may be OK while things are running smoothly, but can they cope if something goes wrong, can they trace back to how and why? Can they recall affected products? If not it may be your company that suffers.
Third Party Audits
An accredited certification audit by an accredited body, e.g. a Certification Body (which may be, for example, audited itself by UKAS).
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