Internal Audits – When, Why and Who?

BY James Slade ON 23rd March 2016.

In addition to the Annual Surveillance audit (the audit that will in turn produce your Certificate) your organisation needs to ensure a programme of internal audits is undertaken.

There is no established requirement for the frequency of these audits, but it is a requirement of all Quality Management Standards that they are undertaken and the results recorded, as the results from these audits will form part of the Annual Audit.

Firstly, it is important to note, your internal audits do not necessarily need to be performed by yourself, or those within your organisation. As part of IMSM’s wider service offering, we are able to provide a yearly programme of Internal Audits to ensure your QMS is running efficiently, we offer these at a frequency of your choice, usually quarterly, but ultimately it depends on the maturity, complexity and history of the QMS you are running.

If you opt to perform the Internal Auditing function yourself, you should take into account the following:

How mature are the processes in my Quality Management System?

The level of maturity of the processes, which forms your QMS, will impact on the frequency of the Internal Audit. A mature, efficient process can be audited internally as little as twice, or once a year. However a process, which has just been developed may be audited no less than once a quarter. This will ensure you are running a sound Quality Management System.

How complex are the processes in my Quality Management System?

You will know how important to your operation your individual processes are. Processes that are crucial to the organisation, or those that carry a high level of risk, should always be audited quarterly. However basic processes that carry little or no risk can be audited once a year.

What happened before?

If you have an established Quality Management System, you will know first-hand what has happened in the past. Processes that have a history of inefficiency, or non-conformities in previous internal or external audits should be audited quarterly, as the auditor performing the External Annual Audit will most likely want to see the internal audit record of these processes. It is important to note that often you will have processes that link to your organisations own targets and goals, and as such if there is difficulty in reaching these targets, frequent auditing of these processes can help identify problems and in many cases, solve them.

In addition to performing the Internal Audits on your behalf, IMSM has a well-established training department, offering Internal Auditor Training in locations around the UK & Ireland, as well as private courses within your own organisation. This training equips your organisation’s internal auditors with the knowledge and training required to run a sound internal audit programme. Why not contact us today to find out about training dates in your area?


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