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The work doesn’t stop once you get ISO certified, there is a requirement to complete an annual surveillance audit to ensure your Management System continues to meet the requirements of the standard(s).

Last week Mel covered some basic preparation you can do ahead of a surveillance audit, but what should you expect on the actual audit day?

Today, Mel shares 10 top tips to help you prepare and ensure your next surveillance audit runs as smoothly as possible.

You’ll learn

  • What is a surveillance audit?
  • What to expect during the surveillance audit
  • Considerations for remote vs on-site audits
  • What evidence do you need to have prepared?


In this episode, we talk about:

[00:36] A description of a surveillance audit

[02:00] A summary of the 10 top tips  

[02:40] There is no right or wrong way to prepare for a surveillance audit – but the following tips will be applicable regardless of the standard your certified to

[03:30] Tip 1: Be Prepared – A summary of what Mel covered in the previous episode  

[05:40] Tip 2 – The opening Meeting – Be sure to have all people involved in the audit present at the meeting. It’s advised to have a member of the leadership team present. Here the Auditor will explain the different types of audit findings.

[08:00] Tip 3 – Audit questions – Similar to your Stage 1 and 2 Assessment, you will be asked a lot of questions. Try to be specific with your answers, and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. Don’t worry if you don’t know the answers to certain questions outside of your area of expertise, simply direct them to the correct individual who can answer. You are within your rights to seek clarification on findings – Do not argue with the auditor, simply ask for justification on findings if you’re confused as to why they’re being raised.

[13:05] Tip 4: Keep on track – It’s in everyone’s best interest to stick to the Agenda.

[13:35] Tip 5: On-site Surveillance audits – Do a floor walk before the auditor arrives to check that you’re following your procedures. Make sure reception knows that the Auditor is arriving, and follows any of your standard visitor procedures. Try to book a room to base the audit in to avoid them overhearing any unnecessary chatter and to allow the auditor and auditees some privacy.  

[16:05] Tip 6: Remote Surveillance Audits – Ensure that you follow any company remote working procedures. Ensure you have a good wi-fi connection, all attendees should be visible on camera but be muted when not speaking. Make sure everyone has access to the necessary documents while off-site.

[17:15] Tip 7: The Auditor – They are human, and they are here to support you to ensure you are doing what you say you’re doing. They are experts on their Standards and it’s advised to foster a friendly relationship with them. But please be aware that they shouldn’t be sending you reports from personal email addresses, be left unattended on-site and shouldn’t be taking any information off-site – show evidence on screen / in-person during the audit.    

[20:20] Tip 8: The closing Meeting – Held at the end of the day. Listen to the feedback and findings from the auditor – they are there to help you improve. Feel free to ask for further clarification if needed. It’s advised to have everyone at the opening meeting present at the closing meeting.

[22:38] Tip 9: Evidence needed – You will typically need access to your audit schedule, audit reports and Management Review Minutes. You may also need various policies and procedures. Ensure that all documents are version controlled and any applicable branding is consistent.

[24:10] Tip 10: Enjoy it! – If you’re doing everything you say you’re doing, then you should enjoy showing off your Management System. The resulting report should be seen as an opportunity to continually improve – the auditor only wants the best for your business.

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About Blackmores

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The Blackmores ISO Roadmap is a proven path to go from idea to launching your ISO Management System.

Whether you choose to work with one of our isologist consultants or work your own way through the process on our isology Hub, we’re certain you’ll achieve certification in no time!

What our clients have to say

We engaged Blackmores to develop our ISO 9001, 14001, and 45001 management system from scratch. Throughout the creation and development stages of our ISO journey, Anju Punetha demonstrated remarkable patience, knowledge, and understanding as our dedicated consultant.

During our internal audit preparations, Ian Battersby’s meticulous attention to detail and thorough approach ensured we were well-prepared for our external audit, which we passed with flying colours. His guidance during the external audit was invaluable.

Based on our engagement and experience, I highly recommend the entire Blackmores team. If you’re considering pursuing ISO accreditations, Blackmores should be your first choice.

Graeme Adam

The support and advise I get from our assigned auditors is immense. Forward planning for the following year is great and they are flexible and always willing to help.

Kalil Vandi

“Blackmores have assisted us almost since the start of our adoption of the ISO 9001 quality standard. Their input has improved our processes since the start, and enabled our goal of continuous improvement to be achieved. The people are also extremely easy to get on with, and they really understand our business, giving us a great deal of confidence in their advice.”

David Gibson

Photon Lines Ltd

“Blackmores are the perfect bridge between working on your ISO as an individual or company, to being audited each year.  We find that any queries we have are covered and we feel sure that we have everything as needs be before going into an external audit.”

Mandy Welsby

Jaama Ltd

“We have been extremely impressed with the service and support provided by Blackmores.  There knowledge and assistance through out our ISO journey has been amazing!”

Philip Hannabuss

Dome Consulting

“Blackmores have really kept us on our toes with the broad scope and level of detail they apply to our internal audit schedule. They always stay abreast of ISO standard changes and help us to adapt our processes and documents to embrace these changes accordingly. Having Blackmores shadow our external audits provides invaluable confidence and peace of mind – would highly recommend their services!”

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Kingsley Napley

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