For any audit there will be questions to ask and information to gather. We rely on what we see in documentation, demonstration of systems and on discussion with staff.
When we review what we consider as successful and unsuccessful audits there is often an element of the people present or available on the day. Where an LCA member is a relatively small company the audit can often be handled by one person who knows how all the processes work and is able to locate procedures and evidence when the auditor requests them. For larger companies it can be helpful for staff from each part of the operation to be present.
One example, on a recent audit we audited a member registered with all categories with their own inhouse laboratory. For the laboratory we spent time with the Lab Manager, spoke to some of the lab staff and the MD. For the delivery of legionella risk assessment services, we spoke with the Technical Manager, delivery staff and the MD. Having access to these staff members meant that when we asked an audit question or requested evidence of an output, it was readily available.
Another example we started to audit a member with the compliance manager present only and had to abort the audit halfway through. Information on areas outside compliance was difficult to access and the audit process failed through lack of evidence. We returned to reaudit this member with the Compliance Manager, Technical Manager, Sales Manager and Operations Manager present. This time the audit was a complete success with great response to the audit questions and ready access to the required evidence. There were still non-conformances found but all were clear on the actions needed to deal with them and confident to move forwards.
Consider when arranging your LCA audit – who deals with the LCA system and will have access and understanding to all parts of the process. If that’s more than one person, consider having them available for the audit. They may not be required for all of the day but can be invaluable in having a successful audit process.