Guidance

Plan your management system

The ISO Navigator™ database hyperlinks the ISO 9000 principles and the ISO 9001 requirements; and explains them in plain English with practical guidance.

ISO 9001: Quality policy

Auditors will wish to determine if the policies meet the intent and are understood, by interviewing personnel at all levels. Although the exact content of the policies does not need to be recited by interviewees, the awareness of the policies and how their job affects the company objectives should be determined.

This does not require your employees to memorize the policies but it does mean they should be aware of it, know where it may be found and be able to paraphrase, or give an interpretation as it applies to them.

The quality policy must be fully integrated with the overall business strategy and objectives. Define, establish and manage the policies by:

  1. Ensuring its relevance to organizational goals and objectives
  2. Ensuring it affirms the need to achieve customer requirements
  3. Ensuring it promotes the continual development of objectives
  4. Ensuring it commits the organization to a process of continual improvement
  5. Ensuring it is communicated throughout the organization
  6. Reviewing the policies for continuing suitability and relevance

Understanding the policy

If the personnel who are interviewed do not know what their objectives are or do not know what the organizational objectives are, this alone would cause the auditor evaluate top management’s communication of the policies and objectives. Inferred awareness through knowledge of procedures is not considered sufficient; otherwise why have the requirement in the first place?

Communicating the policy

A quick and convenient way to promote and communicate the policy might be to create a shortened version of main policy; try condensing it to five key words or even a couple of short sentences. This can be posted on bulletin boards in each department.

You could even add it to the reverse side of staff security passes or ID badges. If an auditor asks an employee whether they are aware of the policy; they can point to the bulletin board, or point to it on their badge. The employee can further elaborate to the auditor, what the policy means to them and how it influences their work.