Internal Audits - Can we to perform audit just using process maps?



If ISO 9001:2000 require at least 6 documented procedures for QMS. Can we to perform audit just using process maps ( flow chart) as work instruction or QAP?
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Jim Biz

I wouldnt know why you could not do it that way

BUT what rumors I have heard explain that even auditing methods will be changing....

What external auditors do now is "compare actions to standards requirements." Internal auditors compare actions to written procedures... and verify they are yes/no being satisfied.

The "new look approach" to auditing (big guess here ) is that effectivness of what the standards require or effectivness of what the proceedures are asking for will be the major consideration. NOT necessarily - are the same words used in the standards - used in the procedures - but is the intent of an effective outcome as esxplained in the standards being accomplished.

M Greenaway

Compliance vs Effectiveness

Its true that the traditional 'compliance' only auditing is considered to be a thing of the past. The requirement to audit effectiveness is now emphasised in ISO9001:2000, although it did exist in the 1994 version. Compliance auditing will still be an important element of the audit process, but blindly quoting non-compliance or compliance where the actual activity is effective or ineffective will hopefully die.

Auditing should now look at the process, consider the inputs, outputs, mechanisms and controls. A written procedure or a flow diagram might be one method of control - what the auditor must satisfy himself with is 'are the controls adequate so that the process performs effectively', clearly looking at the output of the process will be a major part of this assessment.

M Greenaway


As a P.S. to the last post...

ISO9001:2000 now also explicitly states that audits are undertaken against the requirements of the standard. This was always considered 'best practice', and is the method taught by accredited audit training bodies.

So primarily your audit needs to address compliance with ISO9001:2000, therefore without a procedure or flow diagram there is still plenty to audit against.


Quite Involved in Discussions
Please remember that as flow charting is simple and may be easier to comprehend,however you will more than likely need to also supplement with words. Anything you write(flow chart) for you QMS must be understandable by your people who use it. Do not write(flow chart) for the registrar/auditors. Make a value added QMS for your users of the QMS .


Thank You Sirs

I agree both as about a new audit approach as the audit having focus on the effectiveness of output, since I am with advisor hat that look at not only standard compliance but add value to client process output too.
BUT, If someone is on auditor hat, mainly registrar auditors, could miss some information in a diagram flow, as WHO, WHEN, WHERE, WHAT, WHY, HOW, not necessarily all.
And I knowing very well what is a point of view of registrar auditor, for example, some registrars auditors say that is a paradox the standard require at least six written procedures or another auditor wants quality objectives measurable for ALL FUNCTIONS within organization, I would like to remake my question as:
Does anyone have experience with registrars auditors using only diagram flow to perform process assessment and these was accept as a work instruction?

Best Regards


M Greenaway

diagram flow

We have used flow diagrams for years, and have been successfully audited against them.

Your auditor should be able to accept the format of your documentation whatever it is.

Laura - 2003

my 2 pen'orth

I've used flow charts to document procedures and had no problems with staff or auditors, in fact I find them easier to audit.

One more thing!:biglaugh:

I was given to understand by a BSI assessor that it would be prudent for an organisation to audit the QMS by selecting one of the quality management principles and using it as a theme for the annual audit plan.

Any thoughts?

Greg Mack

My two bob's worth

Hi Laura,

I like the sound of that approach but I guess it would all depend though on how your system was documented. It could get ugly real quick.

I believe that there would be many processes that a business documents that would encompass all eight principles in one. I would assume then you would split it and then it could get really messy to establish and maintain any sort of audit schedule.

If your system is documented by a process, then audit it all but ensure that your auditors are aware of the eight principles. That way each process gets a thorough auditing without splitting it up into eight groups.

I feel that a sensible and simple audit schedule by process/procedure, based and assessed for frequency on a risk assessment would be more beneficial and easy to maintain.

My two bob! :D

Laura - 2003

I'm gonna pocket your two bib


I agree with you. I felt at the time that to theme the audit plan would be ineffective as you may well be auditing against one principle and not finding that you are effective or otherwise against another principle until a subsequent annual audit plan.

Given the structure I propose for our QMS, I wish to audit the support processes that underpin the core business process, and review the core business process at frequent Management Reviews. At least this will enable me to ensure senior management committment at a process level!

Can anybody see a flaw in this?

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