Do all findings (nonconformities) in an internal audit require a corrective action?

AndyN

Moved On
Re: Do all findings (nonconformities) in an internal audit require a corrective actio

ISO 19011:2011 establishes as a guidance:



In my opinion, an audit team that collects evidence, but does not grade the findings in conformity (positive/negative), nonconformity and opportunities for improvement is not fulfilling their responsibilities. The audit team must present an audit conclusion, which would include, among other items, instances of nonconformities, if any are observed during the audit.

To relinquish the responsibility of an audit conclusion to management whom did not participate actively during the audit would be a risky proposition, in my opinion. Obviously in some tricky situations, top management could be brought in as an arbitrator and reviewer, but to make that as the modus operandi of an internal audit process would be inappropriate.

The words say "...may be graded". Since ISO 19011 is a "one size fits all" guide - for all (3) types of management systems audits - there's no abdication of responsibility from all the other parts of the auditor's responsibility if they choose not to grade. I've worked with internal auditors who never mentioned a requirement of the standard nor a grade of nc. They did, however, cause an almost evangelical reaction in management to fix a problem! Put another way, 6 Sigma and Lean don't "grade" the situations requiring improvement, but they get management support for improvement...
 

Big Jim

Admin
Re: Do all findings in an internal audit require a corrective action?

Grading has NOTHING to to with CONTENT and CONTEXT, and is a futile activity for internal audits. This is yet another example of where the distinction between internal audits and external audits has been confused.

It has EVERYTHING to do with context. Soft grading encourages the NCR to to be resolved, or at least not fully. At least that's how I see context defined.
 

Big Jim

Admin
Re: Do all findings (nonconformities) in an internal audit require a corrective actio

The words say "...may be graded". Since ISO 19011 is a "one size fits all" guide - for all (3) types of management systems audits - there's no abdication of responsibility from all the other parts of the auditor's responsibility if they choose not to grade. I've worked with internal auditors who never mentioned a requirement of the standard nor a grade of nc. They did, however, cause an almost evangelical reaction in management to fix a problem! Put another way, 6 Sigma and Lean don't "grade" the situations requiring improvement, but they get management support for improvement...

The "may be graded" kind of flies in the face of your comment "THERE IS NO PLACE FOR INTERNAL AUDIT FINDINGS TO BE GRADED".

I would agree that it is up to the organization to determine if they will grade an NCR as a major or minor or leave it as an NCR without a grade, but that is not as absolute as your statement.

It should never be tolerated to classify a NCR as an observation or an opportunity for improvement. It is either an NCR or it is not, and if it is it needs to be written as an NCR.
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Leader
Admin
Re: Do all findings (nonconformities) in an internal audit require a corrective actio

Is grading an auditor's choice or a feature of the process? It should be the latter.

Six Sigma doesn't grade by design, but I don't usually see Six Sigma projects started for small things. Lean or 5S yes - but such decisions are made by people on the management level when deciding what provides value or represents waste in their organization.

Internal auditors, in contrast might not be on the management level and their insights presented as OFIs could be a means to communicate what they see elsewhere in ways the process owners might never see or recognize. Internal auditors may present some system-based insights for people who aren't used to applying systems based thinking.

Grading, including major and minor, should be done using with clearly defined criteria within an officially established procedure.
 

Big Jim

Admin
Re: Do all findings (nonconformities) in an internal audit require a corrective actio

Something I have noticed lately is the some CBs no longer provide a place to record observations or opportunities of improvement in their audit workbook.

It seems that the opportunity to soft grade NCRs in CB audits may be going away.
 

AndyN

Moved On
Re: Do all findings in an internal audit require a corrective action?

It has EVERYTHING to do with context. Soft grading encourages the NCR to to be resolved, or at least not fully. At least that's how I see context defined.

Jim, I've edited my post in response to yours (I didn't convey my thought fully) - my point being that - internal auditors have little to base their grading on in terms of experience and so on, for the vast majority of situations. This is, in part, due to the fact that there's no universal definitions. You simply can't make up stuff to say "X" is a "minor" and "X + n" is a "major"...and that's without getting into the actual content of the nc.
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Leader
Admin
Re: Do all findings (nonconformities) in an internal audit require a corrective actio

Something I have noticed lately is the some CBs no longer provide a place to record observations or opportunities of improvement in their audit workbook.

It seems that the opportunity to soft grade NCRs in CB audits may be going away.
Not for the people in UL-DQS.
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Leader
Admin
Re: Do all findings in an internal audit require a corrective action?

Jim, I've edited my post in response to yours (I didn't convey my thought fully) - my point being that - internal auditors have little to base their grading on in terms of experience and so on, for the vast majority of situations. This is, in part, due to the fact that there's no universal definitions. You simply can't make up stuff to say "X" is a "minor" and "X + n" is a "major"...and that's without getting into the actual content of the nc.
Such things should never be made up. Definitions must be clearly established for grading to be applied correctly. To be applied consistently it would help for the audit process owner (if it's a team of part time auditors) to review the report before it is published and have some influence over content and results.
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Leader
Admin
Re: Do all findings (nonconformities) in an internal audit require a corrective actio

In my opinion, it is worrisome when people who should be working towards the establishment and strengthening of robust QMS practices don't see a problem with internal audit teams softgrading nonconformities and reporting them as "opportunities for improvement", which are, typically disregarded by the organization, as auditor useless opinions.

As previously mentioned, it transforms PDCA into PDCCCCCCCCCCCC.
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Leader
Admin
Re: Do all findings (nonconformities) in an internal audit require a corrective actio

In my opinion, it is worrisome when people who should be working towards the establishment and strengthening of robust QMS practices don't see a problem with internal audit teams softgrading nonconformities and reporting them as "opportunities for improvement", which are, typically disregarded by the organization, as auditor useless opinions.

As previously mentioned, it transforms PDCA into PDCCCCCCCCCCCC.
Of course nonconformities shouldn't be softgraded into OFIs. Grading should be done in a way to help organizations do more than just receive homework assignments from the auditor. After all, audits are expected to evaluate effectiveness - at least in 9001:2008 and 18001:2007 - not just yes/no "are we in conformance?"
 
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