5.1 Leadership & Commitment

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Leasdership and commitment

Step 2Plan: Leadership. Assign roles responsibilities and authorities, define and communicate your policies. Provide positive commitment and direction. The guidance shown on this page is relevant to the following standards:

ISO 9001:2015
ISO 14001:2015
OHSAS 18001:2007

5.1.1 General

Top management must ensure that the requirements of the management system, including the policies and objectives, are consistent with the strategic context and direction of the organisation, and that the policies and objectives are established whilst ensuring that the human and financial resources needed for implementing the management system are available.

Auditors should look for evidence that top management has a ‘hands-on’ approach to the management system during interviews and auditing other requirements e.g. Context of the organization, policies and objectives, Management review minutes, Resources etc. Evidence of Top management involvement may be found in:

  1. Business strategy plans and meetings;
  2. Environmental goals and communications;
  3. Information provided on the organization’s website;
  4. Annual reports;
  5. Management meeting minutes.

Management involvement must now be demonstrated and cannot be simply confined to annual management reviews. Auditors should ensure that they are well prepared to interview the Top management in respect of their commitment to their EHQMS. A good understanding of management-related processes and language used by Top management can be helpful to engage with management on a range of issues.

Without solid management commitment, you will not have a successful integrated management system. This is not a commitment in words; it is the continuous and active demonstration to everyone in the organization that the need to meet customers' expectations is vital. The actions required of Top management must include:

  1. Supporting EHQMS and actively promote the agenda;
  2. Encouraging the goal of meeting, customer, regulatory and statutory requirements;
  3. Developing and supporting the EHQMS by defining and communicating policies;
  4. Establishing organizational EHQMS objectives;
  5. Ensuring appropriate resources are available.
  6. Implementing and improving the EHQMS by encouraging employees to achieve requirements;
  7. Reviewing EHQMS performance;
  8. Ensuring resources are available to improve the EHQMS.

Each employee needs to know who is responsible for the various elements of the EHQMS to ensure a successful implementation. You should develop and make available to all employees a list of key personnel and their job descriptions, responsibilities, along with an organizational chart of key employees as they relate to the EHQMS. This should effectively define, document, and communicate the organizational structure of the EHQMS. Please note that this method is a suggestion, and other ways of meeting the requirement for organizational structure may be used. Develop an organization chart and create job descriptions to satisfy the requirements: 1. Clearly define roles, responsibilities and authorities; 2. Communicate those responsibilities and authorities throughout your organization.

5.1.2 Customer focus

Top management must ensure that the quality management system requirements are integral to the organisation’s business process. Top management must also ensure that customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements are identified and consistently met and that the focus on enhancing customer satisfaction is maintained. Top management must also determine and address the risks and opportunities that can affect conformity of products and services and the organisation’s ability to enhance customer satisfaction.

Demonstrating compliance

You should seek and record evidence that Top management is taking a ‘hands-on’ approach to the management of the QMS. Be prepared to constructively challenge Top management’s commitment to the QMS. Top management's commitment can be demonstrated by their actions, and by their views on the what quality policy means to the everyday activties of the business.

Are Top management attending management review meetings? Do they support the Quality Manager during day-to-day activities and with improvement initiatives? Do they lead the way and take accountability for the effectiveness of the quality management system? Have they ensured that responsibilities and authorities for relevant roles are assigned, communicated and understood within the organisation? Have they established, implemented and maintained a quality policy?


Demonstrate leadership and commitment with respect to the quality management system.
Demonstrate leadership and commitment with respect to customer focus.


5.1 Leadership & Commitment
5.2 Policies
5.3 Roles, Responsibility & Authority

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