The audit process explained
Once you’ve all your systems and procedures in place and are ready for an audit, what do you need to do next and what happens?
Firstly you’ll need to get a quotation for your audit. That’ll tell you how much it’ll cost and what’s involved.
In essence, there’s normally an initial two-stage audit. If these are successful you’re awarded the certification (which’ll be valid for 3 years). To maintain your certification we’ll need to visit you regularly (normally once a year). These visits are often referred to as surveillance visits. Like the initial audit, dates are always agreed and planned – there’re no surprise visits.
More information about the audits
The initial audit is in two stages:
Stage 1 aims to establish that you understand the requirements of the standard, and that you’ve got systems and procedures in place to comply with it. We’ll review any relevant documentation that you’ve produced.
We’ll leave you with a report and an audit schedule for stage 2. The report will identify any actions you’re advised to take before the next stage. Stage 1 is an important part of the process as it ensures you’re properly ready for the more detailed stage 2. It also gets you used to being audited and provides an opportunity to get to know your auditor.
Stage 2 gathers objective evidence to ascertain if you’re complying with the standard. We’ll interview your staff, look at records, review internal audits that you’ve completed, and may visit other sites if integral to the service you provide.
If we encounter problems
If we discover that you’re not adequately complying with any requirements we’ll discuss these with you. Depending on the severity, any issues may be resolved on the day or you may have to correct them before you’re recommended for certification. At the end of stage 2 you’ll know if you’ve successfully been recommended for certification or what actions you need to take before a certificate is issued.
The surveillance visits essentially enable us to check that you’re continuing to operate and work to your management system. You’ll be expected to correct any non compliances, but these rarely effect the continuance of your certification.