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ANAB wants to audit our auditor auditing us...

Discussion in 'Registrars (Certification Bodies) & Registration' started by normzone, Oct 13, 2015.

  1. normzone

    normzone Well-Known Member

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    I just received what has the flavor of a request from our certifying body.

    I am inclined to decline and see what happens - anybody here have any experience with an ANAB auditor witnessing an audit by their certifying body?
     
  2. Sidney Vianna

    Sidney Vianna Well-Known Member

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    If I recall it well, your contract with your CB should have stipulations that you can not decline the witnessed audit. Failure to allow the ANAB auditor observe your audit would be grounds for your CB to revoke your certificate.

    As for the witnessed audit experience, it tends to be a very "stiff" audit, as the CB auditor tends to perform "by the book". Concerned about being perceived as a "softgrader", some CB auditors tend to write up nonconformities, which, in other circumstances, would not be written up.

    From ANAB's Accreditation Manual:

    2.4. For witnessed CB audits, the number of members of the ANAB assessment team shall equal the number of members of the CB’s audit team.
    2.5. The CB shall have enforceable arrangements with organizations being audited for accredited certification to ensure ANAB access to witness the CB’s audit team performing an audit at the organization’s site.
    2.6. The CB shall notify ANAB when an organization refuses a witnessed audit. If the organization transfers to another CB to avoid having its audit witnessed, an ANAB-accredited certificate shall not be issued. ANAB will notify IAF member accreditation bodies of such refusals.​
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2015
  3. Rich008

    Rich008 Member

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    I agree, the audit will be a "stiff" one.
     
  4. Brian Vandolah

    Brian Vandolah Member

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    Sidney and Rich are right. If I were you I would not want to bat that beehive - as an organization your best (and only) bet would be to just rise to the occasion, step up your efforts and weather the storm with dignity....
     
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  5. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Ramp up your own internal audits beforehand to make sure you and the CB auditor, look good, and ANAB won't be pushy.
     
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  6. Jennifer Kirley

    Jennifer Kirley Moderator Staff Member

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    I can offer that I dread witness audits. Imagine the pressure cooker of the auditee who is being audited by a CB auditor who is in turn being audited... we hate it and can only offer that we must do it because our contract says we must go under surveillance at some point. Our hearts are with you because we do not enjoy this necessary routine. What it means is that the auditor is on his or her best behavior. OUR OFIs are carefully issued as are our NCs.
     
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  7. MCW8888

    MCW8888 Well-Known Member

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    Some CB auditors avoid being audited by the ANAB by issuing more nonconformance to the client. Is that correct?
     
  8. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    No.
     
  9. Jennifer Kirley

    Jennifer Kirley Moderator Staff Member

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    Andy is correct. The thing is, CBs also are required to be audited which requires in-person observation of what we do as well as a review of documentation. They select a sample and we say "OK".
     
  10. Sidney Vianna

    Sidney Vianna Well-Known Member

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    Never heard of that theory. If misguided auditors were to write a bunch of questionable nonconformities, just to avoid being targeted for witnessed audits, they would be rejected by registrants and found him/herself out of a job.
     
  11. normzone

    normzone Well-Known Member

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    Well, the audit has come and gone, and I thought I'd let you know how it went.

    It was one of the strangest audits I've experienced. I watched my auditor follow trails that he normally would not have been interested in, all the way down to either their satisfactory conclusion or resulting in a nonconformance for some penny ante issue that I would not have had the nerve to write a nonconformance for.

    But he did it by the book, no letting go minor issues. It could have been used as a training exercise for new auditors.

    And the ANAB guy mirrored him with regards to taking notes. I was not permitted to participate in their conferences, and while I bugged them to let me in on it the ANAB guy politely insisted that it was between him and my auditor.

    So not a bad experience, but I think I actually got an easier audit than I would have without the additional witness.
     
  12. MCW8888

    MCW8888 Well-Known Member

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    My wish for this Christmas is to have the ANAB audit my CB auditor.
     
  13. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Why don't you audit your auditor? We often hear of people wanting to travel to audit suppliers - almost as if you HAVE to - so, the CB comes to you, why not give them notice that you're going to audit them?
     
  14. Jennifer Kirley

    Jennifer Kirley Moderator Staff Member

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    It is absolutely true that I behave somewhat differently when being audited by ANAB than I do otherwise. I suppose that means I am not doing it right otherwise... but there are lines we dare not cross and some things we know they expect, lest we get a nonconformance that the CB has to deal with and the thing ends up in the annual training. There are requirements to cover certain subjects, and I have noticed mine jot-jot-jot his notes when I finally asked a question involving that last subclause.

    It's well documented that we have more NCs when we're being watched. That may or may not be good. Sometimes we are satisfied to say something and not write it down; in this case the client can certainly jot it down and address it. I try not to miss things or focus on what is not important.
     
  15. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    My one experience of an accreditation audit - for a training course I was holding - showed me that (this particular) accreditation auditor was no better or worse than any other external auditor. Simple documentation issues were recorded (someone had to travel to discover that? A simple nc was recorded as the course was behind the published schedule (I told him it was) and nothing else. I did get some plaudits for good examples used to demonstrate specific concepts and that was it... I was underwhelmed.
     
  16. Jennifer Kirley

    Jennifer Kirley Moderator Staff Member

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    I have been audited by ANAB three times with two guys between them (one was a stage 1 and stage 2). I had better fortune than I have heard from one of my associates, whose experience was awful. I would describe it but it would be heresay. I can't say that it provided more value than without. I think the opposite is true, because I can't speak as freely with them attending. (maybe that means I talk too much :rolleyes:) But that isn't why they come. They are just trying to make sure we are performing to 17021. It is unfortunate that the client has that pressure and almost certainly ends up with actions request(s) written that I don't dare let pass.
     
  17. Sidney Vianna

    Sidney Vianna Well-Known Member

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    Well said, Jennifer. I was present during a witnessed audit where the auditor from the accreditation body fell asleep during an audit interview.

    So, if the AB auditor competence is low, having a witnessed audit is just a waste of time altogether.

    It is like to going back to the DMV and having a driver's test. You have to show you are able to respect the speed limits, make an Y turn, looking over your shoulder before you change on to the left lane, etc. in real life, you drive very differently.
     
  18. normzone

    normzone Well-Known Member

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    Jennifer...

    " I would describe it but it would be heresay."

    Hearsay or heresy ?

    :)
     
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  19. Jennifer Kirley

    Jennifer Kirley Moderator Staff Member

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    :oops: Ahem, well whichever, it would be unreliable not having come first hand. My experiences were good but I have heard sorry stories.
     
  20. David Sanabria

    David Sanabria Active Member

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    Just out of curiosity - is you auditor useless.... if so, remember that you are the customer and you can call and request another auditor that could be competent.
     
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