An audit is a systematic, independent and documented process used to obtain information on the application of a standard by an organisation, and evaluating it objectively to determine the extent to which the requirements of the standard are met. (Adapted from ISO 19011:2011, guidelines for auditing management systems).
The auditing of social and value-based standards requires the understanding of the context in which an organisation works. An audit identifies punctual strengths and weaknesses in the application of the standard. The emphasis is, however, not on this punctual compliance or non-compliance, that are indications whether the system of the organisation delivers the required performance systematically, but on the system itself. This allows repeating good practices and avoid perpetuating bad ones across the organisation.
The aim is to generate a comprehensive and objective analysis of the extent to which an organisation applies a standard.