ISO 19011:2002 Now Available

ISO 19011:2002, the combined auditing standard for quality and environmental management systems, has been published. It replaces six older standards in the ISO 9000 (quality) and ISO 14000 (environment) families.

Using ISO 19011 will give organizations a more integrated and balanced view of their operations, making it an outstanding tool for improving business excellence. It is also intended to help organizations optimize their management systems and ease the integration of quality and environmental management. Combined audits of both systems should save money and decrease the disruption of the work units being audited.

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 such as external registration, as well as, supply chain evaluation.

ISO 19011 provides guidance on the conduct of internal or external quality and/or environmental management system audits, plus the management of audit programs. Intended users of this International 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.

The new guidelines provide a uniform approach for the auditing of environmental (EMS) and quality management systems (QMS). As many 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.

As far as external audits are concerned, ISO 19011 also provides registration bodies 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 replaces 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 also completes the ISO 9000 “core series”, also comprising the revised ISO  9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004, published in December 2000. You can order an electronic copy of ISO 19011:2002 at <http://e-standards.asq.org>.