Actions After Audits

According to ISO 9001:2000, clause 8.2.2, on internal audits, we were to ” … ensure that actions are taken without undue delay to eliminate the detected nonconformities and their causes”. Many organizations interpreted these actions to be taken as “corrective actions”, and they were partially right.

ISO 9001:2008 expanded the internal audit requirement to say “ensure that anynecessary corrections and corrective actions are taken … “. This revision tells us that an immediate correction might be needed before determining the cause of the nonconformity and taking corrective action to prevent its recurrence.

The only other place in the standard that refers to correction is in clause 8.2.3, Monitoring and Measurement of Processes. It continues to state in ISO 9001:2008, as it did in ISO 9001:2000, that “When planned results are not achieved, correction and corrective action shall be taken, as appropriate …”. 

Clauses 8.2.2 and 8.2.3 both call for process monitoring. If you are monitoring a process as required by clause 8.2.3, and it doesn’t achieve its planned results, you are to (as appropriate) take correction and corrective action. Clause 8.2.2 now matches 8.2.3 by saying if processes being monitored by an internal audit don’t meet their requirements, then take the necessary corrections and corrective actions.

What is a correction? ISO 9000:2005 defines it as the “action to eliminate a detected nonconformity”, whereas, it says corrective action is the “action to eliminate the cause of a detected nonconformity …”. 

So, when a process is not meeting its requirements (per 8.2.2) or planned results (per 8.2.3), the problem must be eliminated, as necessary (8.2.2) or appropriate (8.2.3). And, then when we know what caused the nonconforming situation, corrective action must be taken (as necessary or appropriate) to remove the cause and prevent the recurrence of the nonconforming situation.

Another view of clause 8.2.2 and clause 8.2.3 is through the ISO 9000:2005 definition of effectiveness, the “extent to which planned activities are realized and planned results achieved”. Part of clause 8.2.2 calls for audits to determine if a system conforms to planned arrangements and is effectively implemented. Clause 8.2.3 says to take action when planned results are not achieved. So, clauses 8.2.2 and 8.2.3 both monitor process effectiveness and both expect correction and corrective action to be taken.