Internal audits

Also known as 1st party audits.The point of auditing is to check if a specific area or process is operating effectively and correctly to laid down standards and/or specifications.

To ensure the internal audit is useful and successful an audit check list should be compiled The list should contain questions to be asked during the audit, and evidence gathered to answer the questions.

Audits should be carried out by trained auditors who are impartial from the area being reviewed.

All audits should be recorded as proof of the audit being carried out and the information obtained used to improve the system.

If performed properly and thoroughly audits can be extremely useful to help companies to improve the Quality/Environmental/ IT Management and / or Health and Safety system.

Examples of weak audits are tick box exercise, or yes / no to pre – set questions The check list used which is simply ticked to indicate the area or process has been visited does not always indicate what has been seen and checked..

Better audit reports contain details of the areas audited, what information has been reviewed , who has been interviewed and evidence of the positive findings. If there are non compliance s these should be noted and agreement on the corrective actions to be implemented with time scales.It is essential to record the positives found during the audits as this helps show the systems strengths. If there are more negatives than positives a review of the whole process and/or training should be implemented as soon as possible.

Regular auditing systems drives continual improvement and helps reduce costs and waste.