External Quality Assurance

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6.1 External quality assurance refers to the involvement of an external body or organisation outside of the company (Vroeijenstijn, 2007). Some examples of external quality assurance are the external auditing of financial statements and inspections by either governmental or industry authorities. A significant amount of external quality assurance is mandated by law, so legal concerns are important to take into consideration. When external bodies are charged with maintaining quality assurance, there can be significant penalties for non-compliance. A restaurant with poor sanitation can be shut down; a transportation company with a poor safety record can face penalties or license revocation. In some cases, the external quality body is linked to an organisation with the legal authority to punish offenders. This is the case with the SEC in America, for example, and accounting transgressions. There is usually an established legal basis for such external quality assurance (ENQA, 2009). When there is legal basis for the external quality assurance, there will usually be specs to which companies must adhere. These specifications may be outcome-based, or they may be based on specific policies and procedures. The example of sanitation in a restaurant is one of outcome-based quality assurance. The city inspectors who grade restaurants do not care how it is cleaned, just that it is clean. The organisation is therefore free to implement its own policies and procedures whatever it feels
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