One of the biggest complaints with ISO9001 is interpretation of the standard. Each auditor has his/her own paradigm and thus expectations. This is one of the reasons why having the same auditors is preferred. This is also the reason why I prefer the pre-assessment be limited to an on-site document review where the auditors set up in offices or a conference room. There they review the Quality Manual against the level 2ís in interviews. Level 3 documents are reviewed and objective evidence provided as requested - however, this is all done in the conference room, NOT on the floor. In short - Are our systems acceptable. - This type of audit is a Verification Audit as opposed to a Validation Audit which is where they actually hit the floor. Now - the 2 big questions:
1) How are disputes with an audit finding handled? Ask them to explain their system. (Request a copy of their procedure!)
2) How does the registrar ensure consistency of interpretations within their company? Some companies have weekly in-house meetings, some have conference calls, some do nothing. THIS IS IMPORTANT!!!