Purpose of Internal Audit in ISO 9001 & other Standards
ISO 9001& other standards require the organizations to carry out the internal audits.
You may call it self-assessment, self review or introspection.
For this, the client organizations are first required to make a plan. The plan gives details on when the audit will be conducted, which departments/processes will be covered & who will be the auditor(s) for the audit.
The organizations are free to set the frequency of the internal audit. It can be any number of times in a year. However, the standard requires that atleast one internal audit is conducted in a year.
Now, we come to the most pertinent question of "Why the Internal Audit"?
Its purpose is to let the top management know as to what is going in their organization with respect to the plans & procedures that they had so diligently prepared & implemented. It means to review for effectiveness what has been going on/happening in the company.
The outcomes of the internal audits inform the top management/the boss/the manager whether the well though out system they had implemented is working fine or are their any issues.
With these outcomes, one gets to know about the effectiveness of a process/strategies, allocation of resources & training needs of the staff.
To sum it up, its an opportunity for the top management/the boss/the manager to get to the ground & do the reality check.