Home Resources Blog November 2015

60 Seconds with John Roberts

18 November 2015
Regulatory enforcement bodies are exacting heavier punishments on organisations and individuals. John Roberts offers his advice on how to avoid this and the non–conformance he most commonly encounters.

Audits against

ISO9001:2008National Highway Sector Scheme 8, 12, and 14 (QMS); ISO14001:2004ISO50001:2011 (EnMS); OHSAS 18001:2007 (OHSAS);
Safety Systems In Procurement (SSIP). 

Most memorable auditing moment

In my time as an auditor, I’ve been down in the depths of MOD main building in Whitehall and worked in 50 degrees of heat in the West Kuwait Desert auditing a gas refinery. I’ve also viewed the processes involved with serious crime and drugs analysis at forensic laboratories.
Naturally I get to see some of the more beautiful sites too, such as the whole of Gibraltar from the radio station on top of the rock, and views of the Emirates Place in Abu Dhabi from the 64th floor of Emirates Tower, quite incredible!

Most common non-conformance

The most commonly raised Non-Conformance (NC) encountered, centres on failure to undertake adequate root cause analysis. Companies more often than not tend to try and pigeon hole the root cause of an NC, to allow for easier trend analysis and therefore quite often miss the causal effect.
When a non-conformance prevails, it’s essential to contain the problem, while further investigation into the scale of the problem is carried out.

Recommended course of action

  • Contain the problem.

  • First Actions or corrections are needed to treat the presented problem rather like a sticking plaster.

  • Further full investigations, using whatever techniques the company are familiar with, such as fish bone analysis or cause and effect, should be carried out to attempt to uncover the underlying cause of the problem ( this may be very remote from the symptoms presented during the audit).

  • Corrective actions should then be developed and implemented.

  • Once implemented, corrective actions should be tested for effectiveness, through ad-hoc audits.

  • Additional corrective actions may be necessary in some cases before reaching a long-term resolve.

Greatest benefit of certification

There are many benefits of certification, but a really important benefit is that management systems certification can significantly increase the credibility of an organization.

Amongst other things, it demonstrates a proactive and structured approach to reducing operating risks, eliminating waste, minimizing accidents and improving relationships with stakeholders. Certification is a symbol of trust that makes it easier for customers to place their confidence in an organization. 

Top tips for getting the most from your management system

  • Understand the needs of the business.

  • Examine all the factors that can influence how it performs.

  • Design and build your management system to address the highest level of risk from your analysis.

  • Keep the system as simple and easy to use as possible.

  • Integrate standards where possible, and use ‘signposts’ back to the primary system.


“Quality is doing it right when no-one else is looking.” Henry Ford.