Can Auditors Audit their Own Work?

ISO 9001:2008 Clause No 8.2.2 was clear and prohibited the auditors auditing their own Work. Well they could do their own departments. Why ISO 9001:2015 removed such a requirement ? Lets look at why the requirement has been withdrawn .

ISO 9001:2015 Cl. No. 9.2.2.C (Internal Audit) specifies “select auditors and conduct audits to ensure objectivity and the impartiality of the audit process” ISO 9001:2008 8.2.2 Internal Audit Clause No 8.2.2 b required “The selection of auditors and conduct of audits shall ensure objectivity and impartiality of the audit process. Auditors shall not audit their own work. “

The idea was independence and objectivity in auditing-no so much that the auditors will manipulate the findings .Audit Has been defined as a systematic, “Independent” and Documented process .Why? To find objective evidence of conformity and Evaluate them objectively (without interpretational bias, prejudices or subjectivity) to assess degree to which -extent to which-how good – the criteria(the requirement/s of the standard, organization’s own requirement etc.) are fulfilled. Idea is to assess fulfillment-conformity. and you corroborate you finding , conclusions with objective evidence- evidence that make same meaning to all with no interpretational differences.

The intent behind the audit  still is that there is independence and objectivity to make sure audit findings are free from bias and remains reliable. But for a small organization , micro size organizations even an one man company can manage its quality management  system to ISO 9001:2015 requirements  , it may be impractical for them to hire external resources or for an auditor to conduct auditing elements where he/she has no role to play at all in the organization. I personally found many areas needing improvement even nonconformity for work that I performed myself directly or directed others to do and subsequently audited. The idea is to find system conformity with objectivity and whether the processes are in place and implemented effectively and producing result. This result oriented independent approach  toward  auditing is the essence and true expectation.

However it is not easy to remain unbiased because sometimes you tend to believe the way you do things is the best and while auditing follow the same approach and thereby the system flaws may not come to your eyes or surface while an independent eye finds it strange and this is where you find benefit of an independent  person doing an audit.

Therefore if you find an internal audit report while you are in a certification audit that the MR audited some of his/her functions- do not jump and raise a non-conformity. Assess under what circumstances  he/she was compelled to audit of his/her own work, how did he/she maintain objectivity and freedom from bias , Please look at the audit report whether they could find any areas of Improvement, or Non-conformity that needed corrective action/s . Make your decision based on such facts.

Therefore to sum up. its not an ideal situation for an auditor to audit their own work  but not prohibitive under certain circumstances -what is most important is Objectivity of an audit

Wish your great success -Be a Great Auditor

Author: M S Ray