ISO/DIS 19011 Ready for Download as E-Standard

The draft of the new ISO 19011 standard for auditing both ISO 9000 (quality) and ISO 14000 (environmental) management systems is now publicly available. Benefiting from the considerable body of experience from audits of ISO management systems, the standard will replace six existing ones in the ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 families.

The new combined standard will help user organizations to optimize their management systems, ease the integration of quality and environmental management, and, in allowing single audits of both systems, should save money and reduce the disruption of work units being audited.

ISO/DIS 19011, Guidelines for quality and/or environmental management systems auditing, can be purchased online from ASQ at their e-standards site. It can be downloaded for $30.00 and is listed as BSR/ISO/ASQ QE 19011-2001: Proposed U.S. Adoptions of DIS 19011 – E-Standard.

ISO/DIS 19011 was published on May 31, 2001 and sent to ISO’s members for voting that closes on October 31, 2001. If approved, the document will be published (with modifications resulting from comments) as a Final Draft International Standard for a further ballot. Its publication as a full fledged International Standard is expected in 2002.

Both the ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 families of standards emphasize the importance of audits as a management tool for monitoring and verifying the effective implementation of an organization’s policy for quality and/or environmental management. Audits are also an essential part of activities for external registration and supply chain evaluation and surveillance.

ISO 19011 provides guidance on conducting internal or external quality and/or environmental management system audits, as well as, the management of audit programs. Intended users of this standard include auditors, organizations implementing quality and/or environmental management systems, and organizations involved in auditor certification or training, registration of management systems, and accreditation or standardization in the area of conformity assessment.

Dick Hortensius, secretary of the joint working group carrying out the development of ISO 19011, described the benefits which the new standard is expected to bring users and the improvements made compared to the documents being replaced:

“The new guidelines provide a uniform approach for the auditing of environmental (EMS) and quality management systems (QMS). As organizations implement both EMS and QMS (either as separate systems or as an integrated management system), they want to harmonize and, where possible, combine the auditing of these systems.

This saves money in two ways. First, a single audit team (provided the necessary expertise on environment and quality is included) can audit both systems at the same time. Second, the organizational unit that is being audited is only disturbed once.

As far as external audits are concerned, ISO 19011 also provides registrars with a uniform approach and will facilitate the combined external assessment of management systems. ISO 19011 is thus serving a real market need for better harmonization of practices in the quality and environmental management arenas.

An important improvement of the new guideline is related to auditor qualifications. The standard recognizes more explicitly than the previous auditing guidelines that the competence of the audit team and individual auditors varies according to the nature, scope, and complexity of the audit, and that it is not possible to set uniform competence criteria which are applicable to all kinds of situations. Therefore, ISO 19011 provides a framework that enables organizations to set their own competence requirements and related auditor evaluation processes.

Another improvement is the combination of the descriptions of the management of audit programs and the conduct of individual audits in a single guideline. This combination emphasizes the relationship between the two and makes it clear that the quality of individual audits depends, among other factors, on the quality of the supporting audit program.”

ISO 19011 will replace ISO 10011-1, ISO 10011-2 and ISO 10011-3 in the ISO 9000 family and ISO 14010, ISO 14011 and ISO 14012 in the ISO 14000 family. It will complete the ISO 9000 “core series” which also comprises the revised ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004, published in December 2000.