Section 6: Pre-audit activities

Determining the audit scope

  • Consult with the audit programme
  • Management Representative
  • Review previous audit findings
  • Review changes
  • Consult with the Auditee – Critical!
    • If they are not involved at this early stage, then the potential for misunderstandings and problems during the audit is vastly increased.
    • To discuss the scope with the auditee during the opening meeting is too late.
    • The audit scope should not be a secret or a surprise.

Determining the audit itinerary

  • Firstly, consult your management system audit procedure – formalities
    • How are the auditees notified?
  • Overall duration of the audit
  • Starting location and time
  • Scope and areas to be visited
  • Timetable
  • Opening and closing meeting arrangements; who, where, when, etc.
  • Personnel involvement


Preparation for working documentation (during the audit)

  • Refer to your company’s audit procedure
    • Checklist forms
    • Non-conformance/observation forms
    • Audit report format
  • The auditor must be familiar with the audit requirements and documentation
  • Don’t stifle auditor initiative – allow flexibility

Preparing a checklist

  • Availability of procedures and work instructions
    • More in-depth review at this stage
  • Document and record control
  • Training and competence
  • Effective implementation of procedures and work instructions
  • Quality Standards and legal requirements
  • Equipment calibration (where applicable)
  • Full and correct completion of records
  • Correct filing of records

Checklist format and types of questions to consider

Avoid where possible closed questions, i.e. those which only require ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. Detailed answers add more value to the audit. However, closed questions are sometimes necessary if only confirming of something is needed.

Open questions usually begin with what, when, where, why, how, etc. Questions beginning with these words will encourage the auditee to give more details answers.

Obtaining good quality evidence (objective evidence)

The illustration below shows a good and bad example of obtained evidence. As a member of top management or a stakeholder of an organisation reading the audit evidence, the right hand response offers much more value and integrity.

6 stages of the audit process

Course Content Navigation

Section 1: Understanding Annex SL and Management System Standards
Section 2: Audit requirements
Section 3: Audit objectives
Section 4: Auditor responsibilities
Section 5: Audit programming
Section 6: Pre-audit activities
Section 7: During the audit
Section 8: Audit reporting
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