Dreading an Ineffective External Audit and the impact it will have on staff

S

sudwel

#1
Hello Covers!

I haven't posted in a while - but perhaps you may remember me as the QMS Rep at a municipality struggling with implementing a new Standard (Drinking Water Quality Management Standard) for the drinking water operations?

We submitted for our accreditation in the spring of 2009, received the audit report for the desktop, initial "full scope - partial accreditation" audit and our subsequent accreditation in the fall of 2009... I submitted for our "full scope" accreditation in the fall of 2010, which entails another desktop audit to be followed by an on-site audit - and just recently received my audit report (after asking where it was??!!) - now, I'm just awaiting notification from the auditor assigned to my municipality to contact me and schedule the on-site.

The accreditation body (Canadian General Standards Board) has assigned the same auditor to all the municipalities in my area, in the hopes of reducing travel costs to each municipality - so, the reputation of the auditor, whom I've never met and never had any contact with, has proceeded them. I come from an ISO background, and very few of my local colleagues have come from that background - so they don't have anything to compare their on-site audit experiences to, but based on what they are telling me... if the auditor is half as ineffective as it's been reported to me - I will NOT be happy!! We're using taxpayers money to pay for the audit, and I want value for the money!

Here's what I've heard so far - let me know if you think I'm justified in my dread:
  1. Auditor contacts the municipality to arrange the audit a maximum of 1-2 weeks ahead of time.
  2. Auditor doesn't ask if any of the procedures etc. submitted with the application have been updated
  3. Auditor doesn't submit an audit plan, even when requested.
  4. Auditor either a) shows up late to the audit, with no phone call to the municipality or b) stays extremely late (6-7 pm)
  5. Auditor sits in a boardroom with the QMS Rep and goes over the documents and records to evaluate the conformity of the QMS with the Standard; the auditor only leaves the boardroom to a) use the restroom or b) get some coffee or food.
  6. Auditor doesn't go to the Public Works Yard to talk to the employees involved in providing safe drinking water to the public; doesn't look at the instruments used to measure regulatory parameters (so doesn't check calibration methods and/or currency); doesn't talk to Top Management or any management, for that matter (BTW - I'm not management)
  7. Auditor spends most of the audit offering advice and "tips and tricks" to improving the Quality Management System and/or talking about current environmental issues.
Now, before you say "get a different accreditation body!" - by law, we have to use this accreditation body - so we don't have a choice in the matter (I sit on a Provincial committee that is working on convincing the Provincial government to let the municipalities choose their own registrar!!).

I'm thinking that if I end up with as ineffective of an audit as my colleagues have experienced (they were all thrilled to only have one or two "minor NC's" and one or two "observations" made!!) - that I will be very vocal to the "bosses" at the accreditation body - as I said - we are using our taxpayers very hard earned money to pay for this audit, and I want an auditor that will get their butt out of the chair and go talk to the people who perform the day to day tasks of keeping the water safe for everyone to drink and use!! I also want the auditor to kick my a$$ for some of the things that I know need to be done - but just keep getting pushed to the back burner when something else comes along.

I'm afraid that an ineffective external audit will only make Top Management and staff think the QMS is a 'joke' and only something required to maintain our compliance with the regulations - as opposed to having the potential to be VERY valuable to help "streamline" the processes in the water department.

Thanks for letting me vent!! My one colleague is having their on-site audit in the next couple of weeks, and I'm assuming that I'll be getting my phone call/e-mail from the auditor to arrange our on-site very soon...!!!

Darlene
 
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#2
Not sure if you wanted any replies, or just wanted to vent...either is OK.
If looking for ideas and motivated (frustrated) enough to try to improve things:

Are you allowed to video the audit?
Irrefutable Documentation (if such a thing exists) may help get the point across.
All the same, it may get the point across harder than you meant to ... with repurcussions to consider.

Government inefficiency, now let me see...where have I heard that before ? :cool:
 
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