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

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

Appendix 2 - My publicly expressed views over the years

a) What did I write in my books?

Meeting ISO 9000 in a TQM World”, 1st edition, 1991, ISBN 09511739-3-6. In that work, I wrote of self audits (page 100-101):

“Self auditing can be used by foreground and background staff to verify the state of readiness, of the equipment, of information and of items that they require both before and during the working day. Planned and periodic checks can also be performed by them. Records of completed activities and routine checks can be reviewed or audited…Customers are the final arbiters on service quality and if their experience and views are obtained, a better guide becomes available.”

But, I also advised that normally such customer feedback is an after-the-event matter.

I wrote of my “Process Model”, page 5, as follows:

“The benefits of using the process model for quality planning and improvement are being increasingly recognized. The idea is that one can consider individual jobs as “processes” that can be planned and controlled. In a TQM environment much of the responsibility for planning is delegated to the person who actually has to accomplish it together with total responsibility for actually controlling it…Chapter 15 ‘The Task Elements’ describes the constituents of every task (process) that require planning and control and it details actions to be taken. The relationships of the process models to the clauses within ISO 9001, 9002 and 9003 are shown diagrammatically in Chapter 3.”

In those diagrams I showed how “self check” would be applied to any “task” (a.k.a. “process”) though none of the ISO 9000 series advocated the process model at the time.” Chapter 3, “The Process Model” described my process model in a form current readers, of ISO 9001:2000, would immediately recognize. The “Task Elements” had appeared much earlier in each of the two editions of Management Audits that had been written up to that time of writing the first edition of “Meeting ISO 9000…World.” An earlier version of them had also been briefly described in Juran’s “Quality Control Handbook” 4th edition.

Meeting ISO 9000 in a TQM World”, 2nd edition, 1994, ISBN 09511739-3-6.

In this edition, I repeated those diagrams linking the process model to the (new, 1994) clauses of the standard and explained the following:

(Page 386),“Independent verification is now abandoned with the exception of audit performance as constituting the only type to be practiced within the firm. This is a good move consistent with the TQM idea of self-control. Self-auditing, whilst not being advocated/ required…is not disbarred”.

(Page 41), “Prior to starting a task required it is always beneficial for the individual to perform a self-audit, otherwise prevention cannot be assured. Self-checking is always vital. A central tenet of TQM is that the person doing the work is responsible for the results obtained. Responsibility cannot be said to have been exercised if the individual hands over his/ her work in an unknown or uncorrected state. Everyone must self-check his/ her own work first to the best of his/ her ability. Self-checking is not inconsistent with the precepts of process control found in ISO 9001 and 9002 [that is the 1994 releases]; self-auditing is not excluded by either of those standards and a TQM programme will never be fully effective without it.”

Management Audits, 1st edition, 1981, ISBN 07 084556 5

This text was written in 1978 and finally appeared in print in 1981, at first as a McGraw-Hill (UK) publication. The text was, therefore, prepared long before BS 5750 was released in 1979. That standard effectively became the original ISO 9000, released in 1987.

Page 4 offered a definition:

“Management audit: an independent examination of objective evidence performed by trained personnel, to determine whether integrated management systems, which are required to fulfill the contractual and legal obligation of the company to its customer and the community are being effectively implemented, and the true and fair presentation of the results of such examination.”

On the same page, I expressed my hope:

“Eventually an organization such as Dun and Bradstreet may include in their assessment of a company an analysis of the efficacy of the enterprise’s management systems, based on information gathered by an audit of the enterprise in question. If this development should take place, a recognized auditor’s qualification scheme will have to be introduced to lend these independent audits the necessary credibility.”

Management Audits, 2nd edition, 1988, 09511739-1-X.

On page 1-6, I expanded somewhat on that first edition’s definition but the substance remained the same. But, I did also express my views about multiple assessment (pp 1-10 – 1-12). At the time of writing (1987) I was already becoming concerned about:

The questionable credibility of “…various assessment schemes designed to reduce multiple assessment of firms in general”, and
Of the fact that,“…when an assessment body investigates compliance with the [ISO 900X] standard, it will be investigating AN interpretation – and it will issue a certificate whose validity rests on that interpretation alone: assessment bodies do not, currently have the authority to impose their interpretation of that standard’s words into the auditee’s practices or management systems. Accordingly, any company wishing to select a supplier solely on the basis of an assessment body’s certificate would be well advised to remain circumspect.”

But, “self audit”, a practice I had been advocating for some time, I described as follows:

“This is a particular type of internal audit performed by an individual upon his or her own systems, procedures and facilities in order to assess his or her performance, its needs, its strong points and its failings.”

“Management Audits”, 3rd edition, 1997, ISBN 0951173901.

In this edition, I added my views on “self auditing” and also truncated the definition of “Management Audit”, as follows:

Page 20: “The self audit places mature responsibility onto one’s employees. Since everyone is a manager, it is sensible for each individual periodically to determine the results of his or her efforts and associated needs for improvement. This is one area where the performance of a self audit is most useful. Although the ingredient of independence is lost, the extra value of self discipline and delegated trust fully compensate. Self audits are performed in addition to, not as a substitute for, independent management audits…the self audit is a particular type of internal audit performed by an individual upon his or her own systems, procedures and facilities in order to assess his or her performance, needs, strengths and failings”.

Page 12: “A management audit is a fact finding exercise which provides management information”.

b) Views expressed in articles and papers

In a 1979 paper, “Quality Assurance – updating the definition”, which was published by Britain’s IQA, I offered a definition for “quality assurance” paralleling that used in the first edition of Management Audits”.

In several papers I expressed my concern about the state of the quality movement, audit performance, audit training and so forth.

c) Self-auditing video

I developed a self-audit training course and, with the kind assistance and hospitality of Messrs Digital Equipment Corporation, shot a video package showing self-auditing at Digital’s facility, in Fareham, UK, in January 1989. The video showed people undertaking self-auditing actions but not process review performed by their managers. It was shown at the AQC Toronto later that year. Intel’s Urmil Desai took sufficient interest to travel to London and see it. His (then) manager, Vivian Brown, said then it was “timely but ahead of its time”. It was advertised in a 1989 issue of Quality Progress. I still have it.

d) Major speeches

In several of my keynote addresses to the ASQ’s Audit Division conferences, I have expressed my concern about the generally poor state of auditing, the generally poor service delivered to management, the inadequacy of training courses et al and have forewarned that management may find its own solutions for its needs. The texts to those speeches are available from various sources.


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