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What is the difference between Internal Audits vs Surveillance or CB audits? 

20/05/2024by admin0Read: 3 minutes

A third-person perspective plays a key role in assessing processes offering management valuable insights into process compliance matters and empowering them to take proactive steps, whether conducted internally or by external consultants. Establishing effective audit mechanisms enables organisations to pinpoint opportunities for process enhancement and supports the attainment of Quality Management System objectives. Hence, it is essential to know the types of audits and understand the difference between them.

ISO 9001 Audits

ISO 9001 audits are integral to achieving and maintaining ISO 9001 certification. An audit includes evidence-based verification of organisational processes against Quality Management System (QMS) policies and procedures outlined in the ISO 9001 standard. Carried out by trained individuals independent of the audited process, audits aim to ensure QMS compliance and identify areas for improvement.

Types of Audits Performed

ISO 9001 audits fall into four main categories:

1) Internal Audit

2) Certification Audit

3) Surveillance Audit

4) Re-certification Audit

5) Supplier Audit

Internal Audits

Internal audits are a mandatory requirement of ISO 9001, and their results must be documented to obtain ISO 9001 certification. Typically, internal audits should be conducted at least once a year or as per the organisation’s defined frequency.

Conducting an internal audit before undergoing a certification audit is crucial. The purpose of the internal audit is to evaluate the compliance of the Quality Management System (QMS) with ISO 9001 requirements and address any non-conformities beforehand. This ensures that the organisation has an internal mechanism to identify and rectify QMS issues, assess process effectiveness, and pinpoint opportunities for improvement. By addressing issues internally, organisations can ensure compliance before external auditors assess them, leading to smoother certification processes. Additionally, identifying process improvement opportunities aligns with the core principles of the ISO 9001 standard and enables organisations to streamline operations for enhanced efficiency.

Surveillance Audits

In addition to the certification audit, the certification body also conducts surveillance audits to ensure ongoing maintenance of the Quality Management System post-certification. These audits usually occur annually. Unlike the certification audit, surveillance audits are conducted on-site in one session, without the issuance of a certificate. Any identified non-conformities must be addressed within the specified timeframe provided by the auditors.

Difference Between Internal Audits vs Surveillance or CB audits?

Internal Audits:

1) Conducted internally by the organisation itself.

2) Aimed at assessing compliance with standards and identifying areas for improvement.

3) Typically conducted regularly as part of the organisation’s quality management system.

4) Results are used internally to improve processes and systems.

5) Generally conducted by personnel within the organisation, either trained internal auditors or external consultants.

6) Focus on evaluating the effectiveness of internal processes, procedures, and controls.

7) Primarily aimed at continuous improvement and ensuring adherence to internal policies and standards.

8) Findings and corrective actions are managed internally, typically without involvement from external parties.

Surveillance or CB Audits:

1) Conducted by certification bodies (CB) or registrars.

2) Verify compliance with specific standards, such as ISO standards, to maintain certification.

3) Conducted periodically, usually annually, by the external certification body.

4) Results are used to ensure ongoing compliance with certification requirements and maintain certification status.

5) Conducted by external auditors from certification bodies accredited to perform audits for specific standards.

6) Primarily focus on verifying compliance with external standards and regulations, such as ISO standards.

7) Required for maintaining certification status and demonstrating ongoing compliance with external requirements.

8) Non-conformities identified during surveillance audits may require corrective actions within specified timeframes to maintain certification.

So, these were some key differences between an internal audit and a surveillance audit.

Anitech’s experienced consultants conduct internal audits for our clients as well as perform Gap Analysis to help them comply with the changing regulations.

Feel free to contact our team to book a session at 1300 802 163 or e-mail – sales@anitechgroup.com.

For more such information, stay tuned to our website.

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