Oftentimes, ISO 17025 is a regulatory requirement. In other cases it is customer pressure. Either way, for most organizations, 17025 is essential for business. Without it the organization’s whole business is at risk. Organizations cannot risk jeopardizing this with an ineffective management system, and internal auditing is the gate-keeper to ensure the ongoing success of the organization.
ISO 17025 is an accreditation standard, not a certification standard such as the likes of ISO 9001 or ISO 14001. Accreditation is designed to give us total confidence in the organization’s system. In a certified system it might be acceptable to have systems that may lead to some errors. In an accreditation system, errors are simply not acceptable.
Given this, the 17025 management system must be infallibly designed and implemented because the accreditation auditors are going to be tough. Internal auditing should provide a similarly thorough approach. While it does need to bring added value to the organization, the first objective is to ensure that the requirements of the standard are met unquestionably. Even with an established and accredited management system, the internal audit process is an essential tool to thoroughly investigate every requirement, uncover alternative interpretations that an external auditor might stumble upon and assure the solidarity of the processes involved.
Auditors must still look for improvement opportunities such as streamlining processes and reducing unnecessary bureaucracies (note that some duplication and bureaucracy is often deliberate to assure the success of the processes). The continual improvement of the management system is an essential and important goal of the internal audit process.
Given the importance of the internal audit activity, it is essential that auditors are experienced and skilled. Yes, technically a “once-a-year” auditor theoretically qualifies for this role but they are less likely to achieve either of the objectives just discussed.
Cavendish Scott has been working with ISO standards for over 25 years. We design and implement ISO 17025 management systems that address the organization’s business goal and yet assure effective processes. This experience ensures we are best suited conduct internal audits that:
- Give management confidence that the processes they have are effective and that they will maintain their ISO 17025 accreditation.
- Easily convince accreditation auditors that the system is audited thoroughly and professionally.
- Provide thorough auditing that identifies any question before an accreditation auditor might identify it.
- Provide the skills, expertise and resources that are not easily available internally.
- Offer experience to identify appropriate necessary controls versus opportunities for improvement.
By engaging Cavendish Scott to conduct your internal audits you will assure yourself of the effectiveness of your management system and protect your ISO accreditation status from the uncertainty of the external auditing.