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The difference between first party, second party and third party audit

first party audit second party audit third party audit management system auditing

The difference between first party, second party and third party audit

Management system auditing offers an opportunity to conduct an audit to verify and ascertain how a particular system is faring. To determine this, an organisation can embark on an audit for themselves, hire someone, or rely on certification bodies depending on the type of audit applicable to them. 

An audit is an exercise that promotes the transparency of the working methods in a system. Through an audit, the managers can make informed decisions to improve their management system and make it efficient for everyone.

Let’s take a look at the difference between first party audits, second party audits and third party audits.

First Party audit.

First party audit is called an internal audit conducted internally by an organisation or by someone else on their behalf. In the first party audit, it’s the members of the management that are involved, very familiar with themselves and unlike what we may have in the second party and third party audits. An Opening meeting may not even be needed when conducting this audit. The persons who conducted the audit are the members of the organisation. Usually, the management is the one that decides the criteria, scope and objectives of the first party audit. Although, a given customer may decide the parameters of the internal audit as part of the contractual agreement. 

Second party audit.

A second party audit is an external audit conducted by other parties in a particular organisation of their interest. The parties may include customers, government inspectorate agencies, etc.

Sometimes, when the outcome of the customer audit on a supplier is unfavourable, the customer may terminate the contract. If the Government agencies conducting their audit find out that the organisation is not maintaining the expected standard, they may likely shut down or fine the organisation. Emotions run very high in second party audits. However, getting a poor result may trigger severe punishment. 

Third party audits

A third-party audit is a type of external audit conducted by an independent auditing organisation mainly to provide certification of conformity on any of the management system standards or for registration to an organisation.

When an organisation is certified to any of the management system standards, ISO 9001:2015, ISO 45001: 2018, etc., it gives a high degree of confidence in their business. The certificate serves as a currency to market that organisation because they conform to that particular criteria, and it’s a certificate of trust. 

The auditing organisation are dependent in their dealings. The auditors (third-party auditors) are objective in their approach during the audit. More so, it adds confidence to the integrity of the process and improves the value of the certification. 

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