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Posted 06 February 2018 - 09:00 PM

I would like to know the communities thoughts on this aspect of internal auditing.

From what I have been told by auditors across different auditing platforms is that an internal audit should be conducted by someone independent of the process being audited.

My question is...

If I start a new job that already has a QMS in place, is there a time frame in which I would be considered independent of the processes? Can I audit the QMS program, let's say within a month and be compliant with the independent piece? Since I have not created any of the SOPs or supporting documentation I would theoretically be able to audit the system, right?

The point of an internal audit in my opinion is to find and correct nonconformities within the QMS...I don't see an outside person being incredibly intimate and involved with a system I am in charge of everyday.

Thank you for your thoughts and feedback!

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 09:46 PM

In my experience, it's very hard to get a good, high quality 'independent' internal audit.  The reason being, as you move farther from the program being audited, the auditor tends to care less and less.  If you have a small operation, for example, and wanted real independence, you might end up with the receptionist auditing the temperature control program.  That person doesn't know enough or care enough about the audit to give it the proper due.


I think the level of 'independence' you need is less than what it is often made out to be.  I always ask myself this question:  If I'm auditing and find a critical problem, whose the person whose in trouble or messed up?  If it's someone other than me, then I'm comfortable auditing it.  If it's me, then I ask someone else, even in my department, to audit that aspect.  I just don't want someone lying about the audit to cover themselves, or even being put in that situation.  But if I as quality manager audit production and find a problem or audit maintenance or sanitation, even if those departments flow through to me, and I've made the documents, I'm OK with that.  I can still easily be objective enough to compare my programs, SOPS, and forms to the standard and ensure they fit and then 'walk' the program on the floor to make sure that everyone is following appropriately.  


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Posted 07 February 2018 - 09:51 AM

Ah now this is difficult.  The independence isn't just to make sure you're not auditing your own work but also to ensure that you're not avoiding giving yourself work to do.  That said, I think it's a harsh auditor who would not consider you independent as a new employee.


In reality none of us are completely independent and the key areas I make sure I avoid someone auditing their own work is Internal Audit, Specifications and HACCP.  Other areas may well have had SOPs written by me but the people actually doing the task aren't me (or aren't only me) so I consider that's sufficiently independent.  Likewise, I've had people reporting into me auditing my HACCP plans.  Strictly speaking this isn't allowed but they're the only people with enough experience and skill to do it.  


Alternatively you can get in a completely independent person.  If you're a small business in the UK consultants and interims can be used for this.  While they're expensive, you can often engage their services just for a day to do some of these audits.  I could easily cover HACCP, internal auditing and specifications on one day in a small to medium sized site which is pretty good value for money and ensures complete independence.

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