Managing Non Conformances

An important part of any management system is the corrective action process. During WCS third party assessments, the assessor may find situations where the system is non conforming with the standard being audited. If this occurs the WCS assessor will raise a non-conformity against the  organisation.

The non-conformance will detail which requirement of the standard has not been met and what evidence the assessor found in order to justify the non-conformity.

The non conformance will be raised as either major or minor and will be left with you at the end of the assessment. The non conformance will always be discussed and reported on during the closing meeting.

WCS require all non conformances to be responded to within 30 days. The non conformance form is required to be completed and returned to WCS. The response will be reviewed and accepted or rejected.

For a minor non conformance the response will be accepted and verified at the next audit.

For a major non conformance the response will be accepted and verification is required before any certification decision can be made. Usually major non conformances require follow up on site to verify implementation but on occasion this may be possible by providing evidence for off site review.

Clients are required to follow a four step process for responding to non conformances.

  1. Correct / contain the situation
  2. Investigation the extent any other situations
  3. Identify the root cause
  4. Implement corrective action against the root cause

WCS has created a guidance document for clients and this can be downloaded here.


The auditor built a good rapport with the auditees and was thorough but fair in his questioning and report.

Oceaneering International Inc.

Open up new business opportunities

Request a quote today