Frequent misunderstanding on the different types of audits.

A dummy factory

A dummy factory

– The 1st party audits, also called internal audits, are done by the entity itself. For example, a factory can audit itself its safety management system to ensure its efficiency.

– The 2nd party audits (also called supplier audits) are audits of suppliers performed by the customer. The purpose is to check the organization of the supplier is adequate. A customer can, for example, check if a supplier is able to deliver the goods with the expected quality.

– The 3rd party audits are done by independent entities. That means the auditing entity is not a part of the customer / supplier relationship. Thus it issues a neutral report, usable as well by the customer and the suppler. It is typical of certification audits.

– It is not because the auditor is from a third entity the audit is of third party. WethicA is doing mainly 2nd party audits. We are not the factory nor the customer, but we are auditing on behalf of the customer, and then we are doing a second party audit.

– The “numbering” of the type of audit (1st party, 2nd party,…) is not related to the relevance of the audit. It is related to the goals and the means, not to the relevance of the audit. Choosing an audit type should be done according to the expectations, not according other considerations.

– The third party auditors independence is not a financial independence. Most of certification audits (then 3rd party audits, then done by independent auditors) are indeed paid by the factory itself. It is then not free of financial bond. The consequences of this last misunderstanding (especially as business model) will be reviewed next month.


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  1. Pingback: Are 3rd party audit matching social audits’ needs?

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