Organizations are increasingly turning to management systems, in a quest to be more effective and save time and money. Many companies have several different management systems, each focusing on different areas, such as IT, information security, quality and environmental management. ISO 19011, Guidelines for auditing management systems, will help with the effective audit of those management systems to ensure continuous improvement, allowing harmonization across systems and a uniform approach of the auditing process where there are multiple systems in place.

The standard is currently being revised to reflect the growing number of management system standards (MSS) and the recent revisions of some of the most widely used, such as ISO 9001 for quality and ISO 14001 for the environment. It has just reached Committee Draft (CD) stage, meaning those countries involved in its revision have an opportunity to make comments on the draft.

Denise Robitaille, Chair of ISO/PC 302, the ISO project committee responsible for the revision, said that when the standard was last published in 2011, there were 11 management system standards, but that number has since grown significantly to 39, with 12 others in development.

“As organizations see the benefit and need for management systems, there has been an increase in the number of sector-specific standards to respond to the mandate.

“There are now MSSs that cover areas such as health and medical, environment, services, information technology and more. In addition, the two most popular MSSs – ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 – have recently been updated, so the auditing of these systems needs to reflect the variety and number of standards being developed.”

ISO 19011 is applicable to all organizations that need to conduct internal or external audits of management systems or manage an audit programme. It is intended to apply to a broad range of potential users, including auditors, organizations implementing management systems and organizations needing to conduct audits of management systems for contractual or regulatory reasons.

ISO 19011 also provides guidance on external audits, including certification and supplier, which support the implementation of the MSS.

The revised version of ISO 19011 is due to be published mid-2018.