This is not a new subject as such on this blog but one that needs constant attention. So many companies I work with don’t get how important it is to allow sufficient time on corrective action when they come to fill in the form.
The correction and containment is the immediate and short term action that needs taking to resolve whatever problem has been flagged up. You then move onto using the 5 whys to determine the root cause as to why you had it. It is absolutely critical to get this right and investigate what is the real cause so that the subsequent correction action doesn’t chase the wrong reason.
Then comes the corrective action to stop it happening again. In addition to an action, which might be feasible in a matters of ‘days’, you need to allow time so that the people involved ( not the auditor ) can convince themselves the action has been effective. Then you call back the auditor. Now this might take ‘weeks’ or even ‘months’, particularly if linked to a subsequent report or meeting.
For example, you appoint someone to cover some duties that have fallen over. Fine, that might be done very quickly – but how do you know the person is going to be effective? You give them a month or two to demonstrate that backed with some report or presentation into management. A process falls over so you agree to add an extra control to prevent it happening again. That is introduced immediately – say via a computer procedure – but you need time to demonstrate the problem has been effectively sorted.
The two actions on a CAR form are not both quick fixes so that you can get them off your back. Whilst the standard requires you to deal with them in a timely matter, it is not the green light to shortcut the process. Corrective Action needs time.