ISO 19011:2018 Basics (8 Free Management System Audit Checklists)

internal audit

What exactly is an “audit“?

The International Organization for Standardization defines it as:

“[the] systematic, independent and documented process for obtaining objective evidence and evaluating it objectively to determine the extent to which the audit criteria are fulfilled.” – ISO, from ISO 19011:2018 – Guidelines for Auditing Management Systems

That’s another way of saying someone takes a look at what you’re doing, gathers some evidence, and compares that evidence to what you’re supposed to be doing (in other words, a set of clearly documented requirements).

In the case of ISO, these requirements are known as standards. ISO 9001 is a standard. ISO 14001 is a standard.

Importantly, this understanding of audit implies that there are a few main things being considered by the auditor:

  • What’s documented by the company (e.g. internal processes, policies, and SOPs)
  • Evidence gathered to support how these policies, procedures, and SOPs are implemented in practice
  • The requirements defined by the ISO standard being audited against (e.g. ISO 9001)

Audits performed by companies to assess and analyze their own management systems are known as internal audits. Many resources for guiding companies on how to perform internal audits exist, and foremost of these is the ISO 19011 standard.

For most management system standards, internal audits are an important requirement. Even guideline standards like ISO 26000 for social responsibility depend on reports to evidence the success of their implementations.

As such, ISO 19011 defines a set of guidelines; a framework for companies to plan, implement, and improve upon their audit programs, for auditing the implementation of management systems.

Since the first edition of ISO 19011 was published in 2002, many new management system standards have been published.

These standards often share a common structure, including certain requirements, terms, and definitions being used. That means ISO 19011 can be used to devise highly economic audit programs, wherein knowledge and processes can be shared and applied across various management systems.

By considering how they might take a broader approach to management system auditing and integration, companies implementing ISO management systems stand to save time, money, and confusion when preparing for and implementing internal audits.

The goal of this post is to provide a spring-board for understanding ISO 19011, and how to get started with internal ISO auditing. In this post, I’ll cover:

  • What is ISO 19011
  • 7 principles of ISO auditing
  • Different types of ISO audit
  • Key elements of an ISO audit
  • 8 free ISO audit templates

If you just want the free ISO audit templates, then here they are:

Continue Reading

ISO 26000 for Corporate Social Responsibility: How to Get Started

corporate social responsibility

Organizations, including businesses, do not exist in a vacuum. Every organization is embedded in a wider web of societal, political, and environmental systems, that spans from smaller local networks to expansive and complex global systems.

As IAG puts it:

“Sustainability is neither a program nor an initiative, it’s considered simply good management.”

This statement recognizes the link between an organization and the social, environmental and economic wellbeing of the communities in which they operate.

An organization’s relationship to the society and wider environment in which they exist and operate is a key factor in their ability to succeed and thrive. It can also be an insight into their general performance.

ISO 26000 is a set of guiding principles for businesses and organizations to use to steer them in a more socially responsible direction.

In order to better contribute to the health and welfare of their supporting societies and environments, businesses must enforce principles of ethical and transparent behaviour.

Continue Reading

Get a free Process Street account
and take control of your workflows today.

No Credit Card Required