C4.4.2 Audit continued…


c) Preparation of Audit Findings

An audit non-conformance is a failure to comply with a requirement. This may be a requirement of an internal procedure, of ISO 14001 or of a legal requirement.

Types of Audit Findings

During an audit the findings raised me be categorised according to severity. They may be classed as Non-conformance, Observation, Minor Nonconformity or Major Nonconformity. Many organisations use different titles, but the principle remains the same.

Minor Finding

A minor finding may be raised when something is found that does not significantly compromise the EMS. For example:

  • Training has obviously been delivered, but not all training has been recorded.
  • Inspections have been conducted, but not always at the required frequency.
  • The Environmental Policy in is place but is not on display.


Major Finding

A major finding may be raised when a part of the EMS is not being implemented or if there is a breach of legal requirements. For example:

  • Inspections have not been conducted at all.
  • Waste has been transferred without a waste transfer note.
  • Complaints have been received but have not been responded to or actioned.



d) Closing Meeting

The Closing Meeting is when the audit team present the audit findings. This should include both positive and negative findings. Any required corrective action should be agreed, as should action to prevent the problem occurring again.

It should be noted that although the audit findings are presented formally during the Closing Meeting, it is good practice to raise concerns as they are found. The auditee may be able to present additional evidence to clarify a situation. If a finding is valid, the auditee is forewarned before the Closing Meeting and may already be considering the required corrective action. Nevertheless, an auditee will not be thankful for the shock of raising findings unannounced until the closing meeting.