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The Insight Column

Quality Manual and management system templates are widely available for any and every business that may want a helping hand in getting their system up and running. But before you splash out on a template, are you sure it'll be the right move for your business, long term? SQMC are long-established purveyors of bespoke, consultant-led management systems and we champion this approach, first and foremost. However, it behooves us to consider the supposed theory and reality of a templated approach, and this article is designed solely to help you make an informed decision.

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Sometimes referred to as an 'audit programme', an 'audit schedule' is defined as a “set of one or more audits planned for a specific time frame and directed towards a specific purpose”. (Definition taken from ISO 9000:2015 – Fundamentals and Vocabulary*.)

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As an auditor of ISO standards, and one who trains fledgling auditors, I am well aware of the appeal of an audit checklist; it is the comfort blanket of auditors, but is it useful?

If you look up the definition of checklist, and I use Merriam Webster, to check such things, it tells me that a checklist is “a list of things to be checked or done”. Wow! I can live with that.  My problem is that so many checklists that I have seen being used are the master rather than the servant of the auditor.

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For a simple little document, it’s hard to believe the amount of confusion an “audit plan” causes, and the amount of time that is spent by people in a role (similar to mine, at SQMC) who train auditors, to explain the who/what/how/where/when of audit plans!

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There is only one sure thing about Brexit and that is its uncertainties. However, for ISO aficionados and the idly curious alike, here is what we do know.

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