ISO 19011: 2011, Guidelines for auditing management systems is an international standard that sets forth guidelines for management systems auditing. It is intended to provide a general description of how audits of all types – first, second and third party – should be carried out when auditing management systems.
ISO 19011 was first published in 2002 by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). This standard was developed to help organizations effectively manage their auditing process, and to provide a common approach to auditing in order to facilitate the integration of management system audits.
Audits are not just a requirement in every management system; they are a reliable tool for providing important information to be used by organizations to improve the performance of their management systems. ISO 19011 assist organizations in the auditing process by providing:
- A clear explanation of the principles of management systems auditing.
- Guidance on the management of audit programs.
- Guidance on the conduct of internal or external audits.
- Advice on the competence and evaluation of auditors.
Organizations that need to conduct internal or external audits of management systems or manage an audit program can use ISO 19011. It can also be applied to other types of audits, provided that special consideration is given to the specific competence needed.
ISO 19011 can be used by any organization regardless of its size or nature. It can be used by both public and private organizations and by groups, associations, and enterprises of all kinds. It is not specific to any sector or industry and can be used to improve any audit process.
Today, many organizations have implemented various management systems in their processes and they all require to be audited. Audits require time, money and effort to program them, execute them and give them a proper follow up. By using ISO 19011, organizations can ensure the proper use of their resources in an auditing process that will contribute to improve all their management systems. This standard can bring many benefits to organizations by:
- Ensuring an efficient planning, conducting and evaluation of audits.
- Providing auditors a clear guidance to perform effectively.
- Facilitating the integration of the auditing processes of their management systems.
- Optimizing resources by streamlining the audit process, reducing duplication of effort an decrease disruption of work units being audited.
- Avoiding confusion over audit objectives.
- Evaluating competence of audit teams.
In the past, many standards were developed to provide guidance on the auditing of different management systems (ISO 14010, ISO 14011 ISO 14012, and ISO 10011). But today, ISO 19011 combines all the knowledge from previous standards, allowing organizations to rely on only one standard to assist them in their auditing process.
ISO 19011 is intended only to provide guidance on how to manage an auditing process and it does not represent a set of auditable requirements for organizations to seek certification for. Thus, its main purpose is for general information and reference.