Certification activities include audits. These often takes place on-site. When an audit is needed for your certification, one of our auditors will contact you for an appointment.
An audit for certification always takes place on-site. When the client operates on more than one location, it might be possible that an audit has to be conducted on more than one location. Prior to an audit, an audit programme will be developed and an audit time will be determined. Additionally, the audit objectives, scope and criteria will be determined. All these will be discussed with the client before being officially documented. Subsequently, an audit team will be selected and communicated with the client. When all is agreed, the actual auditing can start.
In general, the most important components of an audit include the following:
- An opening meeting with the audit team and the client’s management (and, if appropriate, executives responsible for the processes, products and services that are to be audited), providing an explanation of how the audit activities will be undertaken;
- The audit team gathering relevant information and verifying this information. This might be done by interviewing, observation of activities and processes and reviews of documentation and records;
- The audit team summarizing of conformities and non-conformities and, when permitted by the certification scheme, opportunities for improvement. As a client, you receive a clear overview of the found non-conformities, however, Qualitas Group will not make any suggestions about the cause or solution for the non-conformity;
- A closing meeting, in which the audit team presents the audit conclusions and recommendations. During this meeting, among others, Qualitas’ process for handling non-conformities and the post-audit planning will be elaborated. Of course, here the client has an opportunity to ask anything that is on their minds.
- After the audit, you will receive a written report from Qualitas Group. This report includes, among other things
- A description of the conducted audit, including the criteria, objectives, scope, audit team, description of the audit activities and the audit plan;
- Substantiation of deviations from the audit plan, any issues impacting the audit programme and any unresolved issues;
- The audit findings, including substantiation;
- Recommendations from the audit team, within the permitted frame.
After conducting all audit activities, Qualitas Group can make a certification decision for the client’s processes, products and services, if applicable.
In some cases, there is a so-called stage 1 and stage 2 in the auditing. In these cases, stage 1 resembles an initial orientation which includes reviewing the clients existing documents, obtaining necessary information regarding the scope, clients status in meeting the requirements and developing a planning for stage 2. The purpose of stage 1 is obtain a clear overview on the conditions under which the client operates and under which the actual audit has to be conducted. Stage 2 is in this case the actual audit, during which the process, product or service of the client will be audited. This audit always takes place on the site of the client and includes obtaining information about conformity, performance monitoring, internal auditing and management review.
On some occasions, unannounced audits are required. When this is the case, this will be stated in the certification agreement. Most of the times, however, the auditor will arrange a date and time in consultation with the client.