New Auditor Qualification

I’m pleased to announce that I have recently completed the IRCA certified Lead Auditor/Auditor training course and examination. The course reflected fully the concepts and requirements of ISO 9001 representing the very latest approach for 2nd or 3rd party auditing. This means I am now qualified to conduct 2nd and 3rd party audits against ISO 9001: 2015.

To achieve the qualification, I had to study and demonstrate sufficient competence in the following auditing disciplines:

  • Principles of Business Process Management
  • Business Management Systems
  • ISO 9001: 2015 Requirements
  • Managing the Audit Programme
  • Audit Planning and Preparation
  • Performing an audit
  • Audit Reporting and Follow Up

I then had to pass a 3 hour exam, designed to test theory and knowledge of ISO 9001 and the application of auditing techniques.

A third-party audit occurs when a company has decided that they want to create a quality management system (QMS) that conforms to a standard set of requirements, such as ISO 9001: 2015, and hire an independent company to perform an audit to verify that the company has succeeded. These independent companies are called certification bodies or registrars, are governed by UKAS, and conduct audits to compare and verify that the QMS meets all the requirements of the chosen standard, and continues to meet the requirements on an ongoing basis. They then provide certification to companies that they approve. This can be used to give customers of the certified company confidence that the QMS meets the requirements of the chosen standard.

There are three types of audits used in this process, called certification audits,maintenance or surveillance audits, and re-certification audits.

A second-party audit is when a company performs an audit of a supplier to ensure that they are meeting the requirements specified in the contract. These requirements may include special control over certain processes (such as soldering or welding), requirements on traceability of parts (knowing which parts are used in which products), requirements for special cleanliness standards, requirements for specific documentation, or any of a host of other items of special interest to that customer. These audits can be done on-site by reviewing the processes or even off-site by reviewing documents submitted by the supplier. The customer can audit all or part of the contract – whatever they see a need to audit. It is important to understand that a second-party audit is between the customer and the supplier and has nothing to do with becoming certified.

Many people thought that second-party audits would not be necessary once a company is certified to ISO 9001 by a certification body, but this is not necessarily true. Even if you are certified by a third-party audit, any of your customers may still want to perform a second-party audit to look at elements of their contract, especially if these elements are not the same as the ISO 9001 requirements.

If you require help or advice regarding 2nd or 3rd party auditing, give me a call or send me an email and I will get straight back to you.

Back to Blog