Procedure MQC/SP/004

Conduct of Audit
1 Opening Meeting
An opening meeting between the client’s representatives and the assessment team takes place before the assessment starts
The Team Leader at this meeting ensures:
• a record of the meeting is made and any significant discussion points are recorded
• the client’s representatives and the assessors are all introduced. The Attendance Sheet shall be used to record those  present  during opening & closing meetings.
• the proposed scope for which registration is sought is confirmed, any activities that are to be excluded from the assessment are also confirmed at this stage
• the issue status of the firms documented quality system is confirmed
• a representative of the client is available to accompany each assessor. The role of the representative should be explained
• that office facilities are available, and confirms normal working hours, lunch arrangements etc.
Any Health and Safety hazards are identified and adequate protection is available
The Team Leader gives an explanation of how the assessment will take place including:
• Confirming the documents which define the requirements e.g. relevant Standard, MERIT QUALITY CERTIFICATION’s Contract Terms & Schemes for Registration
• Confidentiality Statement  signed by the Team Leader and Team Members (If any) and given to the client
• defining the content of the assessment schedule and ensuring key company personnel are available
• confirming the assessment schedule to the client  identifying each assessor’s responsibilities
• Intermediate daily meetings
• Closing meeting
• Explaining that the assessment process is based on sampling
• Describing the method of reporting non-conformities and categorizing them
• Explain possible outcomes / recommendations
• Explaining that if a major nonconformity is identified the Supplementary/ Re-assessment may be required
The client’s representatives are invited to ask questions



2 Task Allocation

Task allocation is necessary to establish and confirm the assessment programme prior to or as an integral part of the Introductory meeting.
The Team Leader may ask if the team can be taken on a quick tour to become familiar with the size and geography of the site. This is particularly useful if the site is large or has not been visited before.
The Team Leader then holds a short briefing meeting with the assessment team to confirm:
• they are fully aware of their individual responsibilities
• the area allocated to each team member for assessment
• they are familiar with the structure of the client’s documented quality system.
3 Assessment
On a sampling basis each assessor (accompanied by a client’s representative) audits the system in their allotted area.
Each assessor maintains a legible and positive assessment trail, using the assessment detail report forms. The names
of client staff interviewed, locations, identities of relevant drawings, documents, data, procedures, observations and nonconformities
are recorded. The relevant clause of the standard is also recorded within the left-hand margin of the form.
Recording on forms an essential part of the final assessment report and provides a comprehensive cross-reference.
The Team Leader ensures that the assessment takes account of all requirements of the management standard. The Team
Leader is responsible for ensuring that each assessor supplies the required information and that the progress is regularly
reviewed during the assessment. Assessors should particularly note points, which require data from, or for, other assessors.
The team leader specifically ensures the assessment of internal Audit, Management Review, Corrective Action & Preventive
Action is done to ensure an effective management system being operated.
All reports, including the assessment detail report, are to be legible and in a language understood by the certification
authority who reviews the report.
4 Nonconformity Reporting
Non-conformities are recorded within the body of the final assessment report. Only objective evidence of system, service or
product non-conformities is recorded, this includes non-conformities issued against the client’s documented procedures.
Observations and any opportunity for further improvements are also recorded.
Apparent non-conformities shall be discussed at the time of discovery with the client’s representative since they may be able
to give clarification, or may know where other information can be found. Each assessor shall be objective and open-minded
when judging conformity and shall never make decisions based on preconceived ideas or familiar practice.
Where an apparent (previously identified) nonconformity has subsequently been found to be invalid, then the reason for this
is documented.
Apparent major non-conformities are referred to the Team Leader in order to initiate the early warning.
Each non-conformity includes:
• the management standard clause number, Quality Assessment Schedule (where relevant), quality plan, regulation, etc.
against which the nonconformity is issued
• the company documentation reference, where appropriate
• where the nonconformity was observed (e.g. incoming control)
• the details of the nonconformity
• the identification of documents or items involved
• the nonconformity reference number comprising the assessors initials and a sequential number starting at 1. Each
assessor’s non-conformities are sequentially numbered from 1
The nonconformity, worded in the same language as the requirement, indicates the observation which failed to meet the requirement.
5 Notifying Major nonconformity to the client
If a major nonconformity is raised the Team Leader shall notify the client that the recommendation will be not to certify and
that a further assessment will be required. The Team Leader advises the client of this notification in the closing meeting



6 Daily Intermediate Meetings

Where the assessment lasts for more than one day, the assessment team meet to review findings and progress at the end of
each day.
Following this, a review meeting is held with the client.
At this meeting the following topics are covered:
• progress of the assessment
• the number and category of any non-conformities raised
• any areas where it seems likely that non-conformities will be raised
• any difficulties in obtaining the required information
• any difficulties advised by the client because of the way in which the assessment is being carried out
• any other problems which could emerge
7 Preparing Recommendations
When each assessor has completed his allotted task, the assessment team will meet, with the Team Leader as chairman.
The objectives are to:
• Check that all aspects of the planned assessment have been completed
• Obtain all team members’ views on what they have assessed
• Categorise each observed nonconformity
• Consider whether there are any patterns of related non-conformities
• Draw an audit conclusion and record it.
• Decide upon the team’s recommendation
The assessment team reaches its recommendation by consensus. If they are unable to reach consensus, the Team Leader
makes the final decision. The Team Leader is responsible for recording in the report that the decision was not reached by
After this meeting, the Team Leader prepares the assessment report that contains the team recommendation and a statement of the situation found by the assessors based on the observed non-conformities. The report highlights particular areas that require corrective action but does not advise the client on how to correct non-conformities.
8 Guidelines for Recommendations
Categorisation of non-conformities:
Nonconformity: a situation where there is a likelihood that non-conforming product or service will occur, or where the benefits
of the management standard are not being realised, because of the absence of, or lack of adherence to a procedure.
Major nonconformity:   a nonconformity or a number of non-conformities which together are of such severity that its existence
would indicate that non-conforming product or service could be released to the customer or where the requirements of an
appropriate clause of the Management Standard has not been adequately addressed.
Some procedures may be newly implemented and operational evidence limited. Some objective evidence on implementation
must be found, as merely documenting procedures is insufficient. If there is only limited objective evidence the immaturity of
the system is reported and followed up with checks during Surveillance Assessment visits .
9 Recommendations
Possible recommendations are:
Recommend certification, this is permissible:
• Where no non-conformities and no doubts exist.
• Where a number of non-conformities exist which together do not indicate a major failure of the client’s quality system,
provided that the submission date of a Corrective Action Programme is agreed with the client management
Recommend further assessment, this is permissible:
• Where a major non-conformity or a number of non-conformities exist which accumulate to form a major nonconformity
of the client’s quality system.
The Team Leader should discuss future action with the client and explain that the client will have to demonstrate that
satisfactory corrective action has been implemented to overcome the non-conformities and prevent reoccurrence. (See item
14 below)
Agreement on the date by which the programme for corrective action will be submitted is confirmed, as appropriate. This
programme will detail the target implementation dates of the corrective action for each nonconformity and provide details of
the investigation, analysis preventative action and controls applied.
Team Leader is required to specifically mention that in the event of a Non-successful  Supplementary Assessment or a Supplementary Assessment not arranged with in 6 months
period will lead to the repeat of full Registration Assessment.
11 Presentation to the Client
The purpose of the closing meeting is to inform the client of the team’s recommendations and to present to them any nonconformities
• a record of the meeting is made and any significant discussion points are recorded,
The sequence of the presentation is at the Team Leader’s discretion but includes, as appropriate:
• Thanking the client for their hospitality and for their assistance and co-operation
• A resume of the agreed scope of the assessment and the reference documents
Issue date 01 Aug 2009  Approved By Chief Executive
• A presentation of the areas covered and non-conformities found by each assessor. This may be in the form of a  summary where appropriate
• Ensure signatures have been obtained for the report to acknowledge receipt and understanding
• When necessary, observations and any opportunity for future improvement on particular activities of the client that will
also be included in the assessment report
• An overall summary and conclusion which will make the point that the assessment was conducted by sampling, so
that non-conformities may exist even when not observed
• An invitation to the client to discuss specific points
• The recommendation on Certification and Surveillance Assessment, emphasising that the team’s recommendation is
subject to confirmation
• Advise the client of the Appeals procedure when certification has not been recommended and the client is in dispute
with the teams recommendation
• Agreement on the date by which a corrective action plan will be submitted providing detail of the investigation,
analysis, preventative action and time scales for resolution of each nonconformity recorded
When certification is recommended:
• Explain the evaluation of the corrective action programme and that certificate issue may be delayed until some or all
of the non-conformities have been corrected.
• Explain the Surveillance Assessment process including the Reassessment requirements .
• Explain that any future significant changes to the quality manual must be brought to the attention of MERIT QUALITY CERTIFICATION.
• Explain the extent to which the MERIT QUALITY CERTIFICATION reports may be made available to customers to maximise the benefits of certification.
• Explain briefly how the logos may be used.
Small Business
In case the client being a very small enterprise( strength less than or equal to 5), the registration assessment is completed
within one day and covers the whole system. Re-assessment for recertification is conducted once in three years
• Obtain the signature of the Client’s Representative to acknowledge receipt of the report.
The client is advised accordingly to keep all records of assessments and corrective actions for review by assessment
personnel whenever required
12 Distributing Report
Responsibility – Team Leader
The report copies are distributed as follows:
The first copy of assessment report is handed over to client
• The Second copy of assessment report is forwarded to the Manager (Assessments) as part of the
assessment pack including any other informatory material taken during assessment such as Product Catalogue etc.
13 Planning
Following a successful recommendation for Certification, the team leader produces an outline plan for the
assessment cycle.
The forward plan should identify the organisational units to be assessed. Additionally, a detailed plan for the first
Surveillance assessment is prepared on a Form No:-
The plans should form part of the assessment pack submitted for Certification Review.
14 Further Assessment
The assessment is conducted in accordance with this procedure.
The scope of the assessment as a minimum, reviews the progress made against each of the non-conformities raised
during the initial assessment. The implementation of effective corrective action in relation to the Major Nonconformities
should be confirmed. If the Corrective Action has not been implemented or is not seen to be effective, or
further Major Non-conformities are realised, then another recommendation for further assessment is made.
15 Records
• All documentation is archived in the Client file, procedure
This procedure defines the responsibilities and authorities for conducting surveillance assessment visits.
These include:
• all activities following the issue of the certificate
• initiation and completion of surveillance assessment visits
• processing and distribution of reports
Surveillance assessment is the process employed to ensure that the compliance to the
standard established at the registration assessment is maintained and to collect sufficient, verifiable information to justify and record any adjustments to the Surveillance / Re – Assessment Programme
The purpose of this procedure is to ensure that:
• the client’s documented system continues to meet the requirements of the specification
and the scope of registration
• this system is followed in practice
• the client remains fit to hold  MQC certificate of Registration.
1 Surveillance Assessments & Teams
• The CE or delegate schedules the visit(s) on a specified date, informs the Client in advance and confirms through the Assessor Allocation / Intimation letter / mail. The assessor allocation is done as per the Procedure of Assessment Preparation
• First Notice to inform the due dates to client are released 3 / 2 months in advance to the actual due date.
 (The actual due date is 6 months from the date of
Registration assessment or 12 months depending upon the cycle being 6 monthly or annually resp. In case).
• Second Notice or a follow up call (calls) is arranged appx. I month before the due date.
• In case if the date is not agreed till 7 days before the due date , a Notice indicating a suspension warning is released.
• In case if the due date is approached and the date is still not agreed or not responded from client , with in 7 days after the due date the Client’s Registration is Suspended with intimation to suspend the use of Registration Status.
Suspension period may vary 1 to 3 months depending upon the circumstances and may be extended to 6 months only by CE in exceptional cases.
• In case if the attempts failed to conduct the Surveillance Assessment with in Suspension period , the Registration is Withdrawn.
• Client is notified of the all communications time to time.
• A fresh certification cycle may be started if any Full Re assessment is done prematurely based on circumstances.
CE or delegated Surveillance coordinator agrees the dates and assign the Assessment with approval from CE
. At all time during the cycle the
original RA Report is considered.
Concerned assessor releases the Audit Plan in advance to the visit for client’s confirmation thru the MERIT QUALITY CERTIFICATION Office ( Surveillance) Coordinator.

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