Hi, trying to understand with an internal audit when an action is required how would one rate the action (Opportunity for Improvement, Non-Conformance, Major Non-Conformance) - what are the criteria for each classification?
During an audit, auditors observe reality, collect audit evidences that they compare with the audit criteria and raise audit findings.
An audit finding can be one of three types:
Non-conformity (minor or major)
Some auditors include in their audit reports the conformities find, a match between reality and audit criteria.
When an audit evidence is an illustration that reality does not follow the audit criteria, we have a non-conformity. A non-conformity implies the need for action. When we have a minor non-conformity normally, the action requested is a correction. When we have a major non-conformity, the action requested is a corrective action. In this case we need to remove the cause of the non-conformity.
An improvement opportunity is a suggestion for action, there is no request, no obligation to act.
The following material will provide you more information about non-conformities and audits: