Auditing Management - Do I need to interview anyone in Executive Management?


Mark Smith

I recently included "Executive Management" as one of the auditees in my audit matrix. My intention was to verify at least once per year that executive management was meeting its committment to quality in so far as ISO elements 4.1 and 4.2 define it. Do I need to interview anyone in Executive mgmt to verify mgmt's committment to quality? I would rather just perform a desktop audit and verify that there are adequate resources and that Mgmt has been involved in a periodic "Management review".
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Dan Larsen

Generally, I've found "executive management" difficult to audit using interviews. The President typically considers it an afront to his business. I think the desktop audit would work...making sure procedures contain key phrases, checking carefully management review records to see what comments are offered by executive management, maybe interview other managers as to the amount of direction they get from executive management and how they get it (written directives, verbal during meetings, etc.)

If you watch and listen carefully during third party audits, I think you'll find that most often these sections are audited "quietly" and in the background. The auditor will have conversation with the exeutive management during or immediately after the opening meeting then move on to the audit of the system. My impression is that they get a feel for committment during the casual conversation. The true committment is evidenced by the effectiveness of the system and the involvement of executive management in setting objectives, management review, and other key meetings. For example, does the President push his managers by stressing even further improvements than they offer or does he/she simply "rubberstamp" what they say they can do?

barb butrym

Quite Involved in Discussions
I like the interview 'cause it is a dry run before the auditor comes ...presentation of the data is a big part of it...if the paper is there but the Mgt Team has no clue what it is meaningless!!!!!

Doug Stimson

We also interview staff as part of internal audit program (VP and direct reports); keeps them involved. Our Registrar usually at least ask VP how he communicates policy and reinforces QMS.


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Our managers have always been audited. They seem to be hurt if they don't get asked enough. More than once, I've spent time with someone who thought they must have done a "bad" job because they did not get asked all the questions they had thought they'd be asked. I just smile and tell them that they are doing so well that it shows without the additional questions. Hooray for commitment!

Dan Larsen

The point about an interview being a "dry run" for the registration/maintenance audit is well taken. I tend to work with small companies, and generally suggest just such an interview (read that as "audit") with the President before the day of the registration audit. But...these "dry runs" can get awfully uncomfortable at times! Most smaller companies are started by entrepreneurs who are touchy about having anyone "tell them what to do".

It does tend to help, though, in my estimation. Generally, they end up doing well with the auditor. I believe part of my job as the consultant is to let them vent with me rather than the registrar. And in the long haul, they tend to buy into the system...they recognize the system actually gives them better control in the long run.

On a continuing basis, though, I'd tend to shy away from direct interviews with the President/CEO. The indirect system works and is generally sufficient.

Alf Gulford

I definately agree with the interviews. I try to schedule one with the General Manager before each surveillance audit by our registrar. Let [him/her] explain to you how they measure the effectiveness of the quality policy, how they ensure adequate resources, etc. The GM tells us (with a smile) that our internal audits are rougher on him than the registrar is but I think it's our job to keep him a little 'over-prepared.'

You might not have it quite so easy, but I think your registrar will be expecting to see this in your audit results.

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