In this article we would like to share our experiences with the stage 2 audit, the second part of the audit of the certification process for a management system audit.

Looking back

During Stage 1, it was assessed whether your organization is prepared for stage 2. In the closing meeting any areas of concerns within your management system were explained by the auditor. You have been given the opportunity to resolve the areas of concern in the period between the stage 1 and stage 2 audit. It is important that these are resolved in order to start stage 2 well prepared.

Ready for Stage 2

The stage 2 audit takes more time than the stage 1 audit. This is because the auditor assesses the implementation and effectiveness of the management system during stage 2. Are all processes performed as described? Is the policy complied with? Are employees aware of their contribution to the management system? Do you actively check the operation of the management system, and do you know to what extent the management system works effectively?

Focal points in preparation for a stage 2 audit

Several componentss are essential during the stage 2 audit. They are explained below.

  1. Ensure that you can substantiate compliance with the requirements of the standard with supporting documents;
  2. Ensure that you can inform the auditor about your performance control, measurement, reporting and assessment of the established performance objectives and targets. Ensure that you can substantiate this with supporting documents;
  3. Ensure that you can demonstrate that the management system is capable of fulfilling the requirements of legislation and regulations and contractual demands;
  4. Ensure that you can prove that you are in control of operational processes;
  5. Ensure that your internal audits and management reviews demonstrably contribute to the requirements and effectiveness of the management system;
  6. Finally, it is important that you can demonstrate that management takes responsibility for the adopted policy.

The methods used during the audit to obtain information include interviews with staff members, observations of processes and activities, and assessing documents, records and systems.

Completion of Stage 2

After completing the stage 2 audit, the auditor and your organization will start with the follow-up process.

What will the auditor do?

After the audit, the auditor prepares a report. An internal review is performed on the audit report before it is sent to you. In case nonconformities have been identified, so-called ‘nonconformity forms’ are prepared for you to complete.

What can you do?

The good news is, in the meantime, you do not have to wait to resolve the identified nonconformities. During the closing meeting, nonconformities and observations are explained to you by the auditor. It is wise to immediately start formulating and implementing corrections and corrective measures. This way the process runs as smoothly as possible.


The auditor will nominate you for certification when you have resolved any nonconformities satisfactorily. The nomination will be presented to a Certification Committee that independently assesses your file. In case the Certification Committee comes to the same conclusion as the auditor, the file is transferred to the certification decision-maker for a final decision. After this, a certificate will be made based on the information from the audit report submitted to you. It is therefore advisable to check all the data on the report carefully, to ensure correct information on your certificate.


This article intends to explain the process during and after the initial stage 2 audit. You can use this article to prepare your organization for the audit. If you have any questions about the process, the audit cycle or further preparations to the audit, please get in contact with one of Brand Compliance’s Customer and Project Coordinators.