ISO 9001 prohibits auditors auditing their 'own work' while other standards don't?

S

samsung

#1
As far as Internal Auditing goes, ISO 9001 specifically prohibits the auditors against auditing their 'own work' in the following requirement:

The selection of auditors and conduct of audits shall ensure objectivity and impartiality of the audit process. Auditors shall not audit their own work.
whereas the other PDCA based management systems such as ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001 etc. that too advocate the need for 'Internal Auditing' in the same way as 9001 does, don't specify this 'additional' requirement that leaves me questioning:

1. Whether the concept of 'internal auditing' among all the management system standards is not identical ? or

2. Ensuring 'objectivity and impartiality of the audit process' is altogether different from 'not auditing one's own work' ?

3. The term 'own work' has some different meaning in the context of QMS ?

4. Do other standards don't have anything that can be rated as one's 'own work' ? And if they do, can it be audited unlike ISO 9001's specific requirement ?

Your inputs would certainly help me understand the rationale behind this particular requirement.

Thanks in advance,
 
Elsmar Forum Sponsor
#2
Re: ISO 9001 prohibits auditors auditing their 'own work' while other standards don't

1. Whether the concept of 'internal auditing' among all the management system standards is not identical ? or

2. Ensuring 'objectivity and impartiality of the audit process' is altogether different from 'not auditing one's own work' ?

3. The term 'own work' has some different meaning in the context of QMS ?

4. Do other standards don't have anything that can be rated as one's 'own work' ? And if they do, can it be audited unlike ISO 9001's specific requirement ?
Yes, it's not identical in requirements, but the concept is similar (not identical)

Even if you don't audit 'your own work' auditors still need to be selected for the lack of bias etc. There are plenty of people who have an 'axe to grind' about other functions in an organization.

In small organizations, it's often difficult to provide sufficient quantity of auditors, so the minimum is, don't audit your own work.

In ISO 14000, for example, responsibilities for the environmental impacts and aspects are somewhat different to product quality. Hence no 'your work'...
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#3
Re: ISO 9001 prohibits auditors auditing their 'own work' while other standards don't

Maybe "narrow-mindedness" of the people that wrote 9001 along with not paying attention to the documents own "Scope"
 
T

tomvehoski

#4
Re: ISO 9001 prohibits auditors auditing their 'own work' while other standards don't

I believe it is an attempt at eliminating potential bias. I also believe it is impossible to do that. As long as audit findings are treated like demerits or speeding tickets, an individual will have the desire to avoid being tagged with one. If I have that attitude and audit my own work, I am obviously not going to find anything wrong with it.

Problem is, there are many ways that bias can appear even if you don't audit your own work. Bob may want to make his department look better than another, so he hits that department with as many findings as he can. John might be afraid of getting in trouble because the Purchasing Manager golfs with his boss every weekend, so he is not going to write him up. The consultant I hire as an internal auditor wants to come back to my plant near the beach for a long weekend (at my expense), so he issues tons of findings that require follow up. Even my registration auditor may be biased to either be hard on the system to get a follow up audit day, or easy to prevent me from dumping him for another auditor.

I believe that is why the 1994 standard required independence, but that became an issue for the small organizations.

If internal audits findings were treated as good things and a benefit (in the long run) vs. a detriment, many of those bias reasons would go away. Nothing can eliminate all motivation for bias.
 
#5
Re: ISO 9001 prohibits auditors auditing their 'own work' while other standards don't

ISO 9001 uses a process-based approach. It is only logical that one should not audit their own process. They are too close to it and might not be see if for what it really is.

ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 tend to flow across processes, and many of the envirommental management (and safety) system programs tend to involve everyone in the organization. It would be difficult to say that a person cannot audit the paper recycling program because that person participates in the recycling.

In all cases, the standards do say that the selection of the auditors and conduct of the audits need to ensure objectivity and impartiality.
 
#6
Re: ISO 9001 prohibits auditors auditing their 'own work' while other standards don't

I believe it is an attempt at eliminating potential bias. I also believe it is impossible to do that. As long as audit findings are treated like demerits or speeding tickets, an individual will have the desire to avoid being tagged with one. If I have that attitude and audit my own work, I am obviously not going to find anything wrong with it.

Problem is, there are many ways that bias can appear even if you don't audit your own work. Bob may want to make his department look better than another, so he hits that department with as many findings as he can. John might be afraid of getting in trouble because the Purchasing Manager golfs with his boss every weekend, so he is not going to write him up. The consultant I hire as an internal auditor wants to come back to my plant near the beach for a long weekend (at my expense), so he issues tons of findings that require follow up. Even my registration auditor may be biased to either be hard on the system to get a follow up audit day, or easy to prevent me from dumping him for another auditor.

I believe that is why the 1994 standard required independence, but that became an issue for the small organizations.

If internal audits findings were treated as good things and a benefit (in the long run) vs. a detriment, many of those bias reasons would go away. Nothing can eliminate all motivation for bias.
What you're describing is the result of poor audit management - something which no accredited training course (perhaps the most popular type of auditor training) even touches upon. Without effective audit management you will get these symptoms...
 
#7
Re: ISO 9001 prohibits auditors auditing their 'own work' while other standards don't

ISO 9001 uses a process-based approach. It is only logical that one should not audit their own process. They are too close to it and might not be see if for what it really is.
Dave, surely a process isn't the same as work? Why couldn't a person from one molding process - one they work on - go and audit a process that produces a similar product by molding?
 
S

samsung

#8
Re: ISO 9001 prohibits auditors auditing their 'own work' while other standards don't

ISO 9001 uses a process-based approach. It is only logical that one should not audit their own process. They are too close to it and might not be see if for what it really is.

ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 tend to flow across processes, and many of the envirommental management (and safety) system programs tend to involve everyone in the organization. It would be difficult to say that a person cannot audit the paper recycling program because that person participates in the recycling.

In all cases, the standards do say that the selection of the auditors and conduct of the audits need to ensure objectivity and impartiality.
I agree to the fact that one should not audit one's own (quality) process but at the same time if the process does have some environmental aspects, the EMS part (but not the QMS) of this process can be audited by an auditor who is although, not independent of this process, yet demonstrates (or can demonstrate) 'objectivity & impartiality' to his/her own process.

Let's take the example of one manufacturing process - packaging & despatching e.g. - This process can have many significant environmental aspects, e.g., air pollution (packaging of powdery material), use & disposal of torn/ unusable bags, noise generated by machines/ lorries / workmen, generation of solid waste etc. etc. Now, 9001 clearly defines the requirement & hence no confusion whatsoever but insofar, 14001 is concerned, IMO, the auditor, if s/he happens to be the process owner/ participant, must not even audit the EMS part of this process because s/he won't be able to do any justice to the auditing process. But, based on the stated (& unstated as well) requirements of ISO 14001, the auditor (process owner/ participant) can do so. If s/he is allowed to audit this process, s/he wouldn't show that there's environmentally anything wrong with this process.

My point is - what constitutes one's own work ? If it matters so much for QMS, why shouldn't the same philosophy be applicable to other standards. After all the process owner is equally answerable to someone for everything he does (or doesn't do) to the quality or to the environment).
 
L

LSS Master

#9
Re: ISO 9001 prohibits auditors auditing their 'own work' while other standards don't

Good points all around! This has been an ongoing debate since the Standard was released in 1987.

The original intent of the audit was to detect weaknesses in the QMS that were in need of "shoring up", to improve the effectiveness of the QMS. Now, many auditors speak about "auditing for compliance, not noncompliance".

In my personal experience as a CEO, Plant Manager, and consultant, is to view nonconformities and audit findings as opportunities to improve. Indeed, if my QMS is audited and the auditor(s) do not report any findings, I question their auditing ability - no QMS is perfect. All can be improved and I expect the auditor(s) to find ways to improve mine - what value do I receive from an audit report with no findings? I expect to obtain some value from the audit experience, which is an improved QMS!

I apologize for getting dangerously close to a lecture, there, but this subject has always "raised my Irish"!!:thanx:

Thanks for all the great ideas and opinions!!:thanks:
 
#10
Re: ISO 9001 prohibits auditors auditing their 'own work' while other standards don't

Dave, surely a process isn't the same as work? Why couldn't a person from one molding process - one they work on - go and audit a process that produces a similar product by molding?
If I work in a molding process, then there may be some things that I don't see that someone not as involved in the process as I might detect. Moving me to a similar process may result in me still missing the same sort of things.
 
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