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You CAN audit your own work!

Discussion in 'ISO 19011 - Auditing Management Systems Guidelines' started by Andy Nichols, Oct 8, 2015.

  1. Sidney Vianna

    Sidney Vianna Well-Known Member

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    The current case of the VW diesel engines makes it very clear the need for internal auditors, or any other oversight function, to be objective, competent, independent, impartial, etc.
    My comment in this thread is to offer an opposing view of the statement that "now internal auditors can audit their own work", as I demonstrated, the NORMATIVE definition of the term audit requires it to be INDEPENDENT. While degrees of separation between auditors and auditees can be assessed in many cases, my contention is: if you audit a process/activity/project/task you were directly involved with, you are NOT independent. Thus, the requirement for the audit is not being complied with.

    Similar mental exercise when we use the ISO 9000 NORMATIVE definition of corrective action to shoot down the wrong idea some people still have that corrective action is correcting the problem, instead of preventing future recurrence of the nonconformity.

    If we don't pay attention to the NORMATIVE definitions in ISO 9000 and allow people to create their own mental constructs of what an audit is, the concept of standardization goes down the drain.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2015
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  2. BradM

    BradM Moderator Staff Member

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    Agreed. Good points, Sidney.

    Has anyone here.... anyone.... ever seen anyone write major/minor non-conformities on something they were directly involved with? :) We tend to think our work is great and satisfactory; otherwise, we would already be changing what we're doing.

    It seems to be that the quality profession shouldn't need a mandated clause in a standard procedure to dictatw what should be obvious. That is, don't audit your own work.

    There should be enough people in the Supply Chain that you could "barter" auditing tasks where you wouldn't even need to hire anyone.
     
  3. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Hence my question in the OP...
     
  4. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    I fail to see how citing VW has anything to do with the discussions. I asked a simple auditing question: What's the evidence? How would the audit report read...?
     
  5. Sidney Vianna

    Sidney Vianna Well-Known Member

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    Internal auditor audit his/her own work as per internal audit report XYZ, violating the independence requirement of the audit process.
     
  6. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    And the requirement? Which audit criteria are you citing?
     
  7. Sidney Vianna

    Sidney Vianna Well-Known Member

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    Very easy; ISO 9001 section 9.2.1; if the audit is not independent, the organization is not fulfilling the requirement for conducting audits.

    I have triggered a Request for Interpretation from the ISO TC 176 on this subject. Let's see what they say.
     
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  8. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    The word "independent" is not to be found in ISO 9001:2015 clause 9.2.1 or 9.2.2 - which talks about selecting auditors to ensure objectivity and impartiality. I fear you are not being objective or impartial...
     
  9. Sidney Vianna

    Sidney Vianna Well-Known Member

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    ISO 9001:2015, Section 3 Terms and definitions.

    for the purposes of this document, the terms and definitions given in ISO 9000:2015 apply. :D
     
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  10. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Would you cite a normative reference in your NC statement, in that case?
     
  11. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    If we take a look at the definition of the word:
    1independent
    adjective in·de·pen·dent \ˌin-də-ˈpen-dənt\
    Definition of INDEPENDENT
    1
    : not dependent: as

    a (1) : not subject to control by others :
    self-governing (2) : not affiliated with a larger controlling unit <an independent bookstore>

    b (1) : not requiring or relying on something else : not contingent <an independent conclusion> (2): not looking to others for one's opinions or for guidance in conduct (3) : not bound by or committed to a political party

    c (1) : not requiring or relying on others (as for care or livelihood) <independent of her parents> (2): being enough to free one from the necessity of working for a living <a person of independentmeans>

    d : showing a desire for freedom <an independent manner>

    e (1) : not determined by or capable of being deduced or derived from or expressed in terms of members (as axioms or equations) of the set under consideration; especially : having linearindependence <an independent set of vectors> (2) : having the property that the joint probability (as of events or samples) or the joint probability density function (as of random variables) equals the product of the probabilities or probability density functions of separate occurrence

    None of these definitions from Merriam-Webster comes close to being the same as "you can't audit your own work". In fact a couple actually describe similar concepts to "objectivity" and "unbiased".
     
  12. Jennifer Kirley

    Jennifer Kirley Moderator Staff Member

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    If so, I would have to say referencing ISO 9001:2015 for a definition would work better than citing Websters. But it shouldn't be necessary because definitions have always been for the sake of clarity.
     
  13. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree that Websters isn't appropriate, but "independent" isn't in any ISO 9000 definition is it? I'd still like to see an objective, impartial statement of non-compliance which reported that an internal auditor wasn't "independent" of the work they audited...
     
  14. Jennifer Kirley

    Jennifer Kirley Moderator Staff Member

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    I haven't had a chance to see ISO 9000:2015 yet, so I don't know. I will be interested to see what the Technical Committee says. They are putting out some documents on subjects like Documented Information; I will be looking for more to come.
     
  15. Ganesh Sundaresan

    Ganesh Sundaresan Active Member

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    To me, it seems there is more emphasis on being Objective and Impartial rather than on ensuring someone does not audit his own work. It sounds like saying, "You may audit your own work, but please be Independent of your stakes so as to ensure an Objective and Impartial Audit". I am somewhat skeptical about buying the argument that standard still prohibits self-audit in the context of terms and definitions. If that be the case, the committee would have done well to retain the phrase that already existed in the old version to prohibit self-audit in no uncertain terms.
     
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  16. Ganesh Sundaresan

    Ganesh Sundaresan Active Member

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    I would go on to say that External Auditors might find it difficult to write findings on that as much as they were with the previous version. Just to put it in perspective, in the 2008 version, Ensuring Objectivity cum Impartiality in the Audit process and Refraining from self-audit are two different requirements (albeit with some relevance).
    In other words, does refraining from self-audits ensure complete objectivity and impartiality? I would not think so. For instance, when Top Management does not get audited in the Internal Audits (which is the norm), to me, it is a clear case of non-conformance to impartiality clause. Another instance, what if, only novice auditors are deployed to audit MR functions unscrupulously in every Audit cycle. It was never easy for External Auditors to write a non-conformity and perhaps it is never going to be.
     
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  17. Alex Dagenais

    Alex Dagenais New Member

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    Do you think the auditor impartiality and "auditors auditing their own work" also applies to Layered Process Audits?
     
  18. MCW8888

    MCW8888 Well-Known Member

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    In ISO9001:2008 the requirement specified "Auditor cannot audit their own work". Why is there no such requirement in the new ISO9001:2015 document? The auditor can still maintain objectivity even if he is auditing his own work. It's up to the external auditor to probe that.
     
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  19. tony s

    tony s Well-Known Member

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    I guess even TC/176 is having a hard time in establishing a categorical answer concerning Sydney's request. The site hasn't released yet interpretations for the 2015 version.
     
  20. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Interesting, Tony. I'd anticipate that, like a lot of organizations do, most have avoided doing what they can implement, to doing what they can to dodge an nc. Just this week I was watching what a quality manager was doing to be able to answer what his CB auditor "might ask"... A truly impractical and impossible way to run a QMS.

    One thing I hope they do provide an interpretation on is the "context". I had someone tell me it's the quality manual!
     

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