While most ISO registrars tout their ability to “work with our clients” and “be flexible” – they really aren’t going to be able to let internal audits slide perpetually. Eventually you will have to get your management system’s internal audits completed. Yes, I know they’re already 2 months overdue…. What options do you have?
As it turns out – you have several options. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Accreditation Forum (IAF) have just released a guidance document on conducting remote audits. https://committee.iso.org/files/live/sites/tc176/files/documents/ISO%209001%20Auditing%20Practices%20Group%20docs/Auditing%20General/APG-Remote_Audits.pdf
This document outlines the ways in which your registrar can conduct some or all of their audits via remote means (including Webex, Zoom, using drones and conference calls). What you may not have considered is that you can use this guidance to help you get at least some of your internal audits conducted while people are working from home.
Perhaps some of your internal auditors are working from home and have access to your shared drive. They could audit things like your Management System Documentation, Management Review Meetings, Procedures, Internal Audit Processes and Corrective Actions. The Guidance document does bring up some valid issues such as audits being “staged” and the potential for confidentiality risks as well as issues with connectivity, availability of documentation and potential problems with use of the technology resources for the audit.
You may have a much larger issue coming your way. Many internal auditors are nearing retirement. This pandemic may prompt people’s interest in retiring early or without much notice. That may leave you wish a huge gap in getting your internal audits completed on a timely basis. What can you do in the interim? Well…. at the risk of being self-serving – you can hire it done. We here at ECS Audit & Compliance Svcs – offer internal audit services for several different ISO standards including ISO 9001:2015, 14001:2015, 45001:2018 and 22001:2018. Please contact us if we can be of assistance at firstname.lastname@example.org.