Ensuring Best Practice in Auditing

ISO 19011:2011 – Guidelines for Auditing Management Systems, is expected to be released in October 2011. Excel has been busy revising its auditing courses to reflect the changes in the draft standard in anticipation of its formal release in the autumn.

In its briefing note to IRCA Certified Auditors and IRCA Approved Training Organisations, of which Excel is one, IRCA suggests that given there has been a number of new management system standards published over the last 10 years, there is now “a need to consider a broader scope of management system auditing as well as providing guidance that is more generic.”

“We believe the guidance in ISO 19011:2011 captures many of the good practices we already implement as a training provider for management system auditing”, states Tim Alcock, Excel Managing Partner and lead tutor for a number of Excel’s auditing courses. “Although some organisations may see the changes in the guidance somewhat daunting, the standard can provide an opportunity for organisations to re-assess their own practices and identify opportunities for improvement.”

In the business environment today, many organisations incorporate multiple disciplines into their management system, such as quality, environmental, health and safety and information security. The revisions to ISO 19011 have taken this into account, expanding aspects of good practice and introducing new principles of auditing to reflect current thinking and the complexities of auditing multiple disciplines.

IRCA’s briefing note for ISO 19011:2011 states that:
“The main body of ISO 19011:2011 sets out good practice for Managing an Audit Programme and Performing an Audit. These sections provide detailed guidance; intended to be used flexibly according to the size, level of maturity of an organization’s management system, the nature and complexity of the organization to be audited.”

Tim explains that, “Although there have been some significant changes made to the revised standard, the overall approach to managing an audit programme and planning and conducting audits is synonymous with our current approach.”

ISO 19011:2011 is also consistent with requirements of the related independent standard, ISO 17021:2011 - Conformity assessment - Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of management systems.

Further reading: IRCA Briefing note: ISO/FDIS 19011:2011 – Guidelines for auditing management systems