South East Training - Business Process Auditing Toolkit
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Post Audit Activities
The audit report is normally available within two weeks of the closing meeting. Although organisations differ in what they want to see within the report, it should always include the findings as they were presented at the closing meeting and should be signed by the lead auditor. It should be a true record of the audit. It is worth remembering that in some public organisations, the audit report may become a 'public document'.
Further information on audit reporting is available on the Audit Report page.
Requesting a Response
The report is submitted to the auditee managment via the 'client', i.e. the function or department that commissioned the audit. In most cases, the client requests a response from the auditee. The response might consist of a simple commitment to rectify problems identified by a certain date or might take the form of a fully developed action plan.
Evaluating the Response
At South East Training, we recommend that the auditor is involved in evaluating the auditee's response to the report. Their role is to ensure that the auditee has correctly interpreted the findings and to make a judgement as to whether or not the proposed corrective action is an appropriate response to the deficiences observed.
However, we strongly advise against the auditors making recommendations for corrective action or owing the action plan. The responsibility for ensuring the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of the process under investigation lies with the process owner. By making recommendations or taking ownership of the plan, the auditors take on responsibility for the health of the process.
Assisting with the Action Plan
Any further involvement of the auditors will depend on the nature of the corrective action proposed and the auditors' related technical expertise.
It is possible that the auditors' findings result in the process owner initiating a process improvement project, involving a more indepth analysis of the process characteristics. In this case, the auditors' first hand knowledge of the deficiencies may be of value to the project team. The danger of involving the auditors at this stage, however, is they would lose their independence and could not then be involved in the next step.
Further information on improvement activities is included on the Business Process Improvement Activities page.
Verifying Effectiveness of the Corrective Action
Verifying the effectiveness of the corrective action may involve observing or sampling a part of the process to see that problems identified during the audit have been rectified, or it may involve a reaudit of the process. Whoever conducts the verification activity should be independent of the process and the corrective action taken.
Close out is achieved once all parties are satisfied that no further corrective action in relation to the audit observations needs to be taken.