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Internal audits and pastures new?
By Allan J. Sayle, President Allan Sayle Associates

“Thus sang the uncouth swain to the oaks and rills,
While the still morn went out with sandals gray;
He touched the tender stops of various quills,
With eager thought warbling his Doric lay.
And now the sun had stretched out all the hills
And now was dropped into the western bay;
At last he rose, and twitched his mantle blue:
Tomorrow to fresh woods and pastures new.”

Lycidas, 186 -193.
John Milton.

Download Article: Adobe Acrobat pdf (220kb)

Does the idea of process review comply with ISO 9001:2000?
Might process review as a surrogate for internal audits accord with my publicly expressed views?
If the precedent becomes the norm – will we visit fresh woods and pastures new?
Self certification
Effects on the registration industry
What should be the ISO position and that of the TC committee?
Appendix 1
Appendix 2 - My publicly expressed views over the years


A matter raised almost in passing by Jim Wade (of the Business Improvement Network, based in the UK) in a post on the Saferpak Discussion Forum is significant to quality professionals, business and the entire ISO 9000 standards, training and certification industry. Not because of the actual message he posted, but because of its ramifications. It would seem to me we are probably witnessing the first signs of what Joseph Schumpeter would describe as a “perennial gale of creative destruction.” Something new is happening and it could well sweep away many features of present day quality programs and the services offered to organizations. The underlying concepts are not “new” in that certain features were described some time ago. What is “new” is that it seems some companies are acting on them and, I believe, they are the vanguard for thousands of others that could follow.

No crystal ball

In this article, the views expressed are based on my personal understanding of the information at hand, primarily from Mr. Wade, on my stances stated and written over a period of many years and my consequent analysis of the situation as it appears to me. This article does not pretend to present the outcome of gazing into a crystal ball and some of the possibilities described may never materialize or, if they do, they may become manifest in slightly different form. However, as it is a fundamental principle of effective business management that one tries to foresee events and prepare for them - that being the nature of taking “preventive action” - this article is presented accordingly.

Naturally, one expects there will be considerable discussion and perhaps fierce debate over the article’s views. Some people may regard the sentiments expressed as “heretical”, likely, as being controversial. Without fulsome debate, neither consensus nor professional progress is possible.

Valued participation and facilitation

Being a person who believes in free speech and the importance of full, uncensored airing of controversial matters, I am using the internet to post this article in preference to submitting it to a traditional “professional quality body”, hoping the latter might deign to publish it in the fullness of time, unedited, unexpurgated and if it does not seem to threaten an establishment or its view or mantra, or an assault on someone’s personal opinion, prejudices or preferences. Moreover, because I believe the eventual changes I attempt to describe herein as possible will affect so many firms – globally – only the internet can provide the global reach in a timely manner such that businesses (and individuals) can decide sooner than otherwise on their individual courses of action. Only the internet can provide vibrant forums in which thousands of quality professionals and others who may be affected can quickly air their views, unhindered, unedited – in the raw, so to speak – as genuine stakeholders - and get a feel of the international sentiments that emerge. They will be able to make their voice heard and through their postings know their views are seen, considered, discussed and valued. Put another way, all “letters to the editor”, not an edited selection of palatable platitudes, will appear. (For those reasons, I am increasingly of the view that internet discussion forums will become the principle homes for future professional societies having international membership and that present day, traditional ones residing in bricks and mortar monuments will fade in importance and relevance. They are ponderously slow in facilitating communications and solutions responsive to management’s desires and thinking in a timescale that maintains the credibility of the quality profession in the eyes of management.)

So, it is necessary that I express my appreciation to Simon Timperley of the Saferpak Forum for first posting this article and making available his Forum for so many international citizens to participate in what I regard as an important issue that will affect them. As with similar sites, the Saferpak Forum by its existence, technology and nature is one that practices Voltaire’s maxim: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” (within, of course, the limits of courtesy and proper conduct.) It is not a Forum in which one has to go to a Council of the self-important to have one’s right of reply validated. Through the internet is every practitioner valued for his or her contribution.

Background sequence of events to this article

The beginning stems from Mr. Wade’s post on the Saferpak Forum. The sequence of postings leading up to the writing of this article is shown in Appendix 1.

A discussion of the information available

Having now considered carefully those posts on the Saferpak Forum, the two main questions that arise are:

1. Does the idea of process review comply with ISO 9001:2000?
2. Might process review as a surrogate for internal audits accord with my publicly expressed views?

Beyond answering those questions, one then ponders the possible ramifications of internal auditing no longer featuring as a requirement of ISO 9001:2000.


Next: 1. Does the idea of process review comply with ISO 9001:2000?




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