Independent assessment

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An assessment such as an audit or a surveillance carried out to determine the extent to which the requirements for the management system are fulfilled, to evaluate the effectiveness of the management system and to identify opportunities for improvement. They can be conducted by or on behalf of the organization itself for internal purposes, by interested parties such as customers and regulators (or by other persons on their behalf), or by external independent organizations[1]


External assessments can be in the form of a full external assessment, or a self-assessment with independent external validation.[2] The full external assessment is conducted by a qualified, independent external assessor or assessment team. This approach involves an outside team of competent professionals under the leadership of an experienced and professional project manager.The self-assessment with independent external validation involves the use of a qualified, independent external assessor or assessment team to conduct an independent validation of the internal self-assessment and a report completed by the internal audit activity. Independent external assessors should be well versed in successful internal audit practices. Standard 1312 outlines the qualifications for an external assessor, which provides an outline of how to conduct a self-assessment with independent external validation. An independent assessment process usually involves the following stages:

- Defining the scope of the assessment

- Planning

- Selecting the independent external assessor for a self-assessment with independent validation or appointing a competely external auditor

- Communication and coordination with the external assessor

- Defining and conducting the work to be completed before the onsite visit

- Conducting the onsite visit

- Reporting and follow-up

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[1] IAEA, Safety Glossary 2007 Edition

[2] The Institute of Internal Auditors’ (IIA’s), International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing (Standards)