Quality assurance is essential for organizational success but did you know there are two types – internal and external? Understanding the difference between internal quality assurance and external quality assurance is important for any business or training provider looking to deliver high-quality products and services.
Internal quality assurance refers to quality checks that are performed from within an organization by employees or management, while external quality assurance involves independent third parties assessing an organization’s processes and quality standards.
Knowing which activities fall under internal vs external quality assurance allows organizations to effectively structure their QA procedures and allocate responsibilities. It also helps training providers, colleges and other regulated sectors comply with industry requirements.
Keep reading to learn the key distinctions between IQA and EQA, when each type of quality assurance is used, and how understanding their differences can benefit your business or training program.
Here is a table comparing internal quality assurance vs external quality assurance:
|Internal Quality Assurance
|External Quality Assurance
|Employees within the organization
|Independent external consultants or auditors
|Reviewing internal systems, processes, products, services
|Validating quality as impartial third-party
|Spans across departments, functions
|Limited to agreed scope of external audit
|Scheduled based on audit plan
|Periodic compliance checking
|Mandate compliance corrections
|Aligns with internal QMS
|Measures against accredited standards
|Submit findings internally
|Provide external certification
|Internal quality culture
|Accountability to customers
|Enhances internal maturity
|Boosts credibility externally
The core differentiator is that internal quality assurance is performed by an organization’s own staff to boost their internal quality maturity, while external quality assurance is done by independent outside experts to provide unbiased validation. Both mutually reinforce each other to fulfill quality commitments to customers.
Both internal and external quality assurance play complimentary but distinct roles in the quality cycle:
- IQA is ongoing, focusing on day-to-day quality within an organization’s control
- EQA occurs periodically as mandated checks on overall systems, standards and outcomes
- IQA ensures consistent application of policies and standards internally
- EQA checks that these internal standards meet required external criteria
- IQA aims to prevent issues, while EQA identifies problems and ensures they are addressed
Therefore, IQA would be used for routine evaluation and monitoring of activities like facilitating learner evidence sessions, conducting progress reviews and updating internal processes.
Whereas, EQA might involve independent assessment of learner portfolios, examination of organizational records or certification audits.
Knowing when to apply IQA or EQA allows organizations to structure their quality assurance procedures appropriately. It benefits training providers and employers in several ways:
- Compliance with regulations – Meeting IQA and EQA requirements is key for regulated sectors.
- Improvement of quality processes – Distinguishing IQA and EQA helps identify areas for enhancement
- Clear definition of roles – It establishes responsibilities for internal vs external QA functions
- Reputation and trust – Demonstrating robust IQA/EQA methods reassures stakeholders standards are upheld
- Oversight and governance – Separating internal/external evaluations prevents potential conflicts of interest
In summary, internal quality assurance focuses on day-to-day procedures within an organization, while external quality assurance provides independent verification from approved third parties. Both play vital but distinct roles in managing quality.
By understanding the key differences between IQA and EQA, training providers can design compliant assurance systems to safeguard standards and cement their reputation for excellence.
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This course is designed to empower professionals with advanced skills and knowledge, which is the key to excelling in quality assurance practices.
Whether you want to enhance your career prospects or contribute to organizational excellence, our Level 4 IQA Course is essential. Don’t wait; book today and embark on your journey to becoming a qualified IQA professional.
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