Guidelines for quality and environmental management systems auditing

Press release: September 23, 2002

The cost of failing an environmental/quality management systems audit takes many forms. Companies can lose valuable contracts or prized certifications. They may have to pay for an expensive programme of improvements demanded by a client. They may see operational efficiency eroded.

The audit process is complicated enough, without having to reinvent the wheel each time. BSI are about to publish a new standard on environmental and/or quality audits, BS EN ISO 19011 Guidelines for quality and/or environmental management systems auditing. By using this new standard, organizations can save time, effort and money by:

  1. Avoiding confusion over the objectives for your environmental or quality audit programme.
  2. Securing agreement of the goals for individual audits within an audit programme.
  3. Reducing duplication of effort when conducting combined environmental/quality audits.
  4. Ensuring audit reports follow the best format and contain all the relevant information.
  5. Evaluating the competence of members of an audit team against appropriate criteria. 

Whatever the reason for the audit - internal review, certification, registration, contract compliance - organizations can move efficiently through the process by applying the guidelines contained in BS EN ISO 19011.

This first edition of BS EN ISO 19011 cancels and replaces BS EN 30011-1:1993, BS EN 30011-2:1993, BS EN 30011-3:1993; and BS EN ISO 14010:1996, BS EN ISO 14011:1996 and BS EN ISO 14012:1996.

Now in one single standard there are four critical decision-support resources for the efficient planning, conduct and evaluation of quality and/or environmental audits:

  1. A clear explanation of the principles of management systems auditing.
  2. Guidance on the management of audit programmes.
  3. Guidance on the conduct of internal or external audits.
  4. Advice on the competence and evaluation of auditors.

At the core of the standard is a set of principles that will enable anyone connected with an audit to perform effectively. And because it focuses primarily on the underlying processes of audit management, it can be adapted for use when auditing any management system.