Opening and Closing Meeting Agendas

Opening and Closing Meeting Agendas

ISO 19011:2018 stipulates the agendas for the opening and closing meeting. The opening meeting is usually chaired by the Management Representative of the organization being audited. As soon as he/she finishes with the introduction, the meeting is then handed over to the audit team leader/lead auditor to proceed with the other agendas.

The agendas of the opening meeting include:

  • Introduction of personnel. This is for both auditors and auditees so that the teams are familiar with each other. 
  • Confirmation of audit objectives; i.e. 
    • To verify conformance to documented procedures  
    • To Verify conformance to ISO 9001:2015
    •  To verify conformance to legal requirements ( statutory and regulatory requirements )
    • To identify areas of improvement
    • To check the effectiveness of the system in attaining the set objectives
  •  Confirmation of the audit scope – The team leader needs to state the scope of the audit as it had been communicated through the audit plan. If it is a multi-site client, all the sites that will be audited should be mention. In case, it is all the processes in the organization being audited, the lead auditor can just state ‘all the organization’s processes’
  • Criteria confirmation– Mention the documents against which the audit will be conducted. i.e.
    • ISO 9001:2015
    • Regulatory and Statutory requirements
    • the organization’s documented procedures
  • Review of audit plan– It is very important for the audit team to be very flexible when it comes to the plan. Listen to the client and the reasons they want to change the plan and agree. Sometimes, the reasons are unavoidable.
  • Confirm language to be used– Adopt the countries official language. At times, it is okay to mix languages for the sake of junior staff.
  • Explanation of audit methodology including sampling. Interviews, observation, testing, etc. It is very critical to let the auditee know that the audit will be conducted using the sampling method and therefore, the audit conclusion will be based on the samples. 
  • Confirmation of roles of guide for the audit team. Some organizations are really big for the audit team to maneuver on their own. In such cases, the management representative needs to give guidance as to whether there will be audit guides or the last auditee will guide the auditors to the next auditee according to the plan. This time should be factored in the plan
  • Confirm the availability of resources. The resources to be used by auditors during the audit process. These may include printing or photocopying machines, the internet, and projectors e.t.c.
  • Confirm the reporting methods including grading of non-conformities. The communication channels to be used and the time frames for issuing the final report.
  • State Confidentiality- It is very important to assure the auditee that information that the auditors will come across is only for the sake of audit and it will not be shared elsewhere. 
  • Establish any Restrictions- If there any forms of restrictions, they should be stated before the commencement of audit and justifications given if any. 
  • Tentative closing meeting time and venue– For prior planning, communicate this information during the opening meeting. 
  • Technical Experts – If the audit team is accompanied by one, the auditee needs to be informed.
  • Conditions under which the audit can be terminated – matters related to force majeure, natural calamities, terrorism acts, fire, flooding, lack of system in place e.t.c
  • Confirmation that the auditee will be kept informed during the audit – communication on the progress of the audit especially through the management representative. 
  • Information on appeal of the audit conclusion and conduct of the audit-  in case the auditee needs t appeal the conduct of the audit team or the issues/non-conformities raised. 

Closing meeting

The closing meeting is chaired by the audit team leader to and the aim is to present the audit findings and conclusions in a manner in which they should be understood and acknowledged by the auditee and timelines for corrective action agreed upon. 

Depending on the organization, this could be a very formal meeting where minutes of the meeting are noted and attendance registers are kept. For some organizations, just the attendance register is sufficient. 

In other organizations, the management representative takes a copy of the certification body’s attendance registers. 

The agenda of the meeting includes: 

  • Thank the auditee participating in the audit
  • State the objectives of the audit and if they were met
  • Confidentiality – Reassure the auditee that information that the auditors came through was for the audit and it will not leave the organization.
  • Mention the principles of sampling followed during the audit. Reminding the client that the audit findings are based on the samples. 
  • Summarize audit observations– The audit team leader should do a summary of the observations as time does not allow for a detailed report. 
  • Give non-conformities in detail. It is important for the auditee to understand the requirement of the criteria document and the non-conformity that was found during the audit. The auditee is supposed to be told the requirement of criteria document word for word and then an explanation given as to where they are contravening the document. This should be done with a lot of clarity. 
  • If specified by the objectives, recommendations, and areas of improvement should be presented. It is very important to emphasize that recommendations are not binding.
  • Allow for discussion– any diverging opinion regarding the audit findings and conclusions should be resolved. If not resolved, opinions should be recorded.
  • Changes in the report – Inform the client if the report will be reviewed by the certification body and if it is subject to change. 
  • Present overall summary and conclusions for the audit
  • Request corrective action dates – to facilitate planning for a follow-up audit. 
  • Agree on follow-up dates
  • Close the meeting. 

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