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Business 389 views Jun 14, 2020
How do I meet my internal audit requirements during coronavirus

ISO 9001 lead auditors are faced with a unique challenge in these unprecedented times of a global pandemic that has brought economies to a standstill and the world grappling with a new normal. Audit program managers are challenged with meeting the requirements of their internal audit programs. ISO 9001 lead auditors are challenged with employing new audit skills, previously thought to be inadequate by some, to meet the audit program requirements. Even in the maritime industry remote audits were considered ineffective and are now being used to meet requirements.
ISO 19011, the guidance document published by ISO, on auditing guidelines was forward thinking in allowing the use of technology to conduct remote audits. This was recommended as an option in the 2011 version of the standard and continues to be an option in the 2018 version of the document. ISO 9001 lead auditors can use the emote auditing option to interview personnel as well as the view documents remotely. In doing so they must account for the integrity of the audit. That is, how do they ensure the security of the information shared across an open network (unless documents are being viewed on an intranet to which the auditor ahs limited access) as well as can the accept the information being shown as genuine. It is important for both parties to have a camera to verify identity as well as to add a personal touch to audit interviews.
Of course, by now most of you are thinking what about floor audits. If your company is operational you have perhaps reduced to only essential personnel being onsite. As such many ISO 9001 Lead Auditors find themselves at home. In this case it may be possible to have a trusted person on the shop floor walk you around the shop floor via a video conference call. In cases where this cannot be achieved the audit program manager may consider doing a risk assessment to determine how to adjust the audit program such that the onsite audit aspects are covered at a later stage. Alternately perhaps a self-assessment by the onsite process owners based on a checklist provided by the audit program manager or the ISO 9001 lead auditor.
Organizations that are certified are often asked to cover all processes and all clauses of the standard in their internal audit program. While there is no requirement for this in the ISO 9001 standard or other ISO standards the seems to be the interpretation of certification bodies and of the auditors auditing on their behalf. To address how your organization dealt with this issue consider the points raised above in amending the audit program for the year and conducting a risk assessment. Critical processes will need to be covered, not to fulfill audit purposes but to ensure customer requirements and management objectives are adequately met. ISO 9001 lead auditors will need to be trained and ready to audit using remote methods. QMII’s ISO 9001 lead auditor training addressed these aspects.