When people talk about good auditing technique it is easy to immediately start covering how to ask questions, how to deal with people and how to make notes.  Whilst this is all true, it is easy to forget that there are 4 stages to the audit process and good auditing technique can be used at all of these stages – as we will see.  This makes for a better audit.

The 4 stages of an audit are – PLANNING, ASSESSMENT, REPORTING and FOLLOW-UP.  The “assessment” part is the part of the audit when you are on-site.  Here are some examples of good auditing technique for each stage:

PLANNING
  • Make contact with the auditee
  • Arranging and agreeing a date and time
  • Explaining the reasons for the audit and the standard to be audited against
  • Reviewing any pertinent documents in advance of the audit
  • Production of a programme
  • Production of any checklists
ASSESSMENT
  • Asking good questions and listen to the answers
  • Asking further questions – rephrasing if necessary
  • Taking notes
  • Use “open” questions
  • Don’t make assumptions
  • Treat people as equals
  • Speak to a range of people
  • Communicate in an open and non-aggressive manner
  • Have knowledge of the standard being audited against
  • Have knowledge of the activity being audited
  • Be tactful when dealing with people
  • Provide feedback and highlight findings as you see them
  • Be decisive
  • Focus on the bigger picture rather than the trivial
  • Audit against the standard – not your opinions
  • Run good opening and closing meetings – see related post on their contents
REPORTING
  • Writing a report within agreed timescales
  • Ensuring the report captures all that was seen during the audit
  • Having an accurate report
  • Including any non-conformities seen
FOLLOW-UP
  • Ensuring that appropriate corrective actions are taken
  • Seeing objective evidence of this
  • Communication to the auditee on completeness of actions
  • Asking for further information/ action if not satisfied
  • Ensuring actions are taken within agreed timescales
  • Informing key personnel when the audit is closed
  • Closing and storing the report correctly

If you want any help with performing some of your audits or if you need any auditor training then please get in touch.

Our Internal Auditor and Pharmaceutical Lead Auditor training courses are extremely popular and highly regarded within the industry – seen as some of the best (if not the best) such courses available.  Visit our website for more information, look under Quality Management Systems courses

Regards,

Dominic

[email protected]