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Does the Head of the Department being audited have the right to amend audit report?

M

Marcus CLF

#1
We have an internal quality audit at a production department. After the audit, we submitted the audit report to get approval from the department manager. In the report we stated a few suggestions for improvement to the department. Anyway, the manager read the report and rejected it with the reason we did not conveye the exact audit findings in the report. Initially he has already admitted the audit findings verbally in the audit. But he insisted we do not add it into the report because it might cause trouble to him. He amended the received the report and request us to submit the amended report to management. :mad: Does he have this right?
 
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Randy

Super Moderator
#2
Re: Does the person been audited have the right ro amend audit report?

What's the honest and ethical thing to do?

Also is he the requestor of the audit? (in this case you client is Top Management)

What does your procedure say?

What will Top Management say?
 
#3
Re: Does the person been audited have the right ro amend audit report?

We have an internal quality audit at a production department. After the audit, we submitted the audit report to get approval from the department manager. In the report we stated a few suggestions for improvement to the department. Anyway, the manager read the report and rejected it with the reason we did not conveye the exact audit findings in the report. Initially he has already admittedthe audit findings verbally in the audit. But he insisted we do not add it into the report because it might cause trouble to him. He amended the received the report and request us to submit the amended report to management. :mad: Does he have this right?
Randy is correct. There are a number of issues to address here before a full and correct answer can be given. A simple answer could be, that as the customer of the audit, he might disagree with the way the findings are presented and may reject the report.

If he understands the culture of his management, then he may be justified in wishing that certain points are changed or omitted. There's always the politics of the organization to consider and, in such a situation, the manager might agree the audit findings verbally to the auditor, but prefer that the same report not be given to his management.

I believe that this matter goes deeper than his actions. It seems to me that there are changes which are necessary with your top management so that they begin to see the fullest benefit from audits. You (as the auditor) may be reporting things which have a politically sensitive message and lastly that the 'improvements' that you are reporting really are exactly that - improvements - and not simply a suggestion to do things differently.

As an auditor we must be very careful to ensure that what we report is viewed by management as value added. Just calling something we find an improvement may sound better to the ears, but it has to be something worth doing as far as your management can see it, not it's not just 'busy work'. Are you completely sure your improvements will give back some rewards if taken seriously? If not, remove them from the report and simply focus on those issues of compliance and effectiveness. Only when you have built trust with your management team and you learn to report real, value-added improvements will you have changed their minds.................
 
M

Marcus CLF

#4
Re: Does the person been audited have the right ro amend audit report?

Thanks for your feedback, guys.
I agreed that sometime, the audit findings may not be easily accepted by every party especially the customer of audit. Anyhow, this is an internal audit. The audit team has formed by employee which not really as proffesional as we thought of. The internal quality auditor just report as what we found. The customer of audit should provide sufficient supporting data if he/she found that he/she does not accept the audit findings. But not simply kick back the report. Company policy did not state clear about customer of audit can or can not reject any audit findings. It should be reporting the right thing. And whether accept or not, is up to the management.
 
D

D.Scott

#5
Re: Does the person been audited have the right ro amend audit report?

Thanks for your feedback, guys.
I agreed that sometime, the audit findings may not be easily accepted by every party especially the customer of audit. Anyhow, this is an internal audit. The audit team has formed by employee which not really as proffesional as we thought of. The internal quality auditor just report as what we found. The customer of audit should provide sufficient supporting data if he/she found that he/she does not accept the audit findings. But not simply kick back the report. Company policy did not state clear about customer of audit can or can not reject any audit findings. It should be reporting the right thing. And whether accept or not, is up to the management.
You seem to be mixing "findings" with "suggestions for improvement". I agree with the comments already made when it comes to suggestions made in an audit. I don't think those comments are meant for "findings" of nonconformity. If you find something that provides objective evidence of a nonconformity it should be included in your report. To leave it out would be a disservice to your company and open a question of the integrity of your audit system.

As an internal auditor your job is to verify compliance/conformance. You should audit the various areas of your assignment to determine that established procedures and requirements are being followed/met as planned. When you find an area where those plans are not being followed/met, it is your duty as an auditor to document your finding with objective evidence and present that finding to management.

Where many internal auditors go wrong is by taking on the role of "expert" just because they are wearing an auditor hat. Every good internal auditor will probably see any number of things in the audit that they might think they have a better idea of how to do it. Many internal audit programs encourage identification of areas of potential improvement. These are usually welcomed but all they are are suggestions. Management can either accept or reject them.

The measure I would advise you to use as to rejection by management would be objective evidence of not doing something required by a specific procedure or other document within your audit scope. If what you are questioning falls into that criteria, you should feel justified in including it in your report.

If management then rejects your report, it could then be a matter of intimidation which is another matter entirely.

Dave
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#6
Re: Does the Head of the Department being audited have the right to amend audit repor

Good replies so far.

An auditee can certainly dispute findings, but only the audit team should be permitted to change an audit report.

It's possible to negotiate nonconformances based on their validity and value/risk, but it's difficult to think of a good reason to erase them. Even if a process or elemtny of a process is being changed or obsoleted, that act can be verified later to close the finding.

In cases like this it could be a good idea to defer to the higher management levels. If the organization were to get a third party audit later, and the same finding uncovered at that time, one might question the audit's effectiveness for not discovering it. This would be a problem to the degree of the risk the nonconformance enables to product, safety or customer satisfaction.

Your department managers need to understand that the process is being audited, and not them. The audit function is intended to merely verify effectiveness or reveal opportunity for improvement. If the fix is complex, it's possible to assign a long enough timeframe for resolution--no need to rush, except for containment of high risk problems while a permanent fix is undertaken.
 
#7
Re: Does the person been audited have the right ro amend audit report?

Thanks for your feedback, guys.
I agreed that sometime, the audit findings may not be easily accepted by every party especially the customer of audit. Anyhow, this is an internal audit. The audit team has formed by employee which not really as proffesional as we thought of. The internal quality auditor just report as what we found. The customer of audit should provide sufficient supporting data if he/she found that he/she does not accept the audit findings. But not simply kick back the report. Company policy did not state clear about customer of audit can or can not reject any audit findings. It should be reporting the right thing. And whether accept or not, is up to the management.
Marcus - you response doesn't fill me with confidence that the audit went at all well. From what you've written, I could infer that it was a poorly conducted audit and that the auditor is adopting the position of 'this is what we found, so it stays in the report', rather than both the auditor and auditee arriving at the end of the audit with a common understanding of what was found.

For our information, was the audit done in a colaborative manner? Why do you feel the manager should have to provide evidence to justify their position? Did the auditor not gather sufficient information to support the audit findings?
 
C

curryassassin

#8
Re: Does the Head of the Department being audited have the right to amend audit repor

We are finding it more and more useful, for both auditee and management, to put the nonconformances, findings, observations, into context. So when we put the report together, we link the observation to a citation or we even group similar findings under one citation, and then we explain why this is a problem, e.g. 'although these issues are minor in nature, the fact that they were found in x number of areas, could suggest a systemic issue'.

We also steer clear of providing CAPA, UNLESS the auditee / management are struggling, because we want them to demonstrate ownership of the problem and to retain our independence. What do you think of this approach?
 
S

SilverHawk

#9
Re: Does the Head of the Department being audited have the right to amend audit repor

Perhaps the auditor should be honest and be ethical enough to carry out the internal audit in the proper manner without having any othe rmotive..
 

Helmut Jilling

Auditor / Consultant
#10
Re: Does the person been audited have the right ro amend audit report?

Thanks for your feedback, guys.
I agreed that sometime, the audit findings may not be easily accepted by every party especially the customer of audit. Anyhow, this is an internal audit. The audit team has formed by employee which not really as proffesional as we thought of. The internal quality auditor just report as what we found. The customer of audit should provide sufficient supporting data if he/she found that he/she does not accept the audit findings. But not simply kick back the report. Company policy did not state clear about customer of audit can or can not reject any audit findings. It should be reporting the right thing. And whether accept or not, is up to the management.
During and after an audit, there should be a review of the audit, and discussion of the findings and whether they are accurate. The auditor writes the report, not the auditee, but there is little point in writing a bunch of stuff that has not been discussed or agreed upon. This is not something the auditor does to the auditee, this is a process of finding problems and improvements.
 
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