C4.7 The Auditor


A competent auditor is not the only requirement when selecting an auditor. Consideration may have to be given to any personal conflict between an auditor and the organisation being audited, especially regarding external audits that should be fully independent. In addition, there may be language issues that affect the selection of an auditor, such as fluency in another language.

Auditor Competence

The auditor should have knowledge of:

  • Environmental Management Systems.
  • Environmental legislation.
  • The industry or process.


Auditing Skills

To be an effective auditor must posses a number of interpersonal skills. These include:

  • Verbal communication skills.
  • A relaxed demeanour and patience with auditees.
  • Be polite at all times, remain calm and collected.
  • Sufficient confidence to know when something is right or wrong.
  • An auditor should be observant.
  • Listening skills, to listen to what you are being told.
  • An auditor should be able to influence and encourage an auditee (that the right course of action is worth taking, that environmental performance is important etc).
  • Written communication skills.
  • Be professional at all times.


Auditing Techniques

An auditor should consider carefully how to phrase a question in order to obtain the required information. For example, avoid the use of closed questions which will lead to a yes/no answer.

Questions should be open, to allow the auditee to respond fully. For example, words such as ‘how’, ‘why’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘who’ and ‘what’ allow the auditee to provide more information in their answer.