ISO 9001 Requirements - Leadership

Demonstration of leadership and commitment

Top management are required to demonstrate commitment and leadership by taking responsibility for the effective running of your organisation’s quality management system.

They can do this by taking accountability for the effectiveness of the quality management system and ensuring the quality policy and quality objectives are compatible with the context and strategic direction of your organisation.

Top management need to have a clear line of sight from your organisation’s business plans and strategy, to the objectives and business measures. These should provide the basis for developing the quality policy.

Leadership from your top management needs to ensure the integration of the quality management system requirements into the organisation’s business processes. The quality management system can no longer be a ‘stand-alone’ function of the business, but an integral aspect of business as usual activities, from highest level business planning to process outputs.

To ensure demonstration of leadership, top management need to be seen as promoting the use of a process and risk- based thinking approach. The risk based approach should work at a number of levels within your organisation, from identification and mitigation of risk at strategic planning level, to process risk management and control.

To demonstrate commitment, top management are required to make sure the quality management system achieves its intended outcome(s) and has adequate resources assigned.

Additionally, they are required to engage, direct and support all individuals that the quality management system applies. They need to communicate the importance and ensure its continued success by encouraging all individuals to contribute to the overall effectiveness of the management system.

To encourage engagement, top management should support relevant roles within the quality management system and always promote improvement.

Leading by example, top management are required to demonstrate customer commitment by ensuring there is a focus on products and services meeting customer requirements, applicable statutory and regulatory requirements are being determined and met and risk and opportunities are being addressed.

The involvement of top management in the management system is now explicit and hands-on.

Establishing a quality policy

The quality policy has also been strengthened and needs to be developed in line with the purpose and context of the organisation.

Top management have an explicit requirement to apply the policy and should ensure it provides a framework for the organisation’s quality objectives that include the commitment to satisfying interested party requirements and promote the continual improvement of the quality management system.

Top management shall make sure the policy is available as documented information and communicated and understood by all relevant interested parties.

Roles and responsibilities

As with the 2008 standard, top management need to ensure that individuals are given the responsibility and authority to enable them to carry out their roles in relation to the quality management system.

All individuals should be assigned and communicated their relevant roles by top management and top management should ensure these are understood and the quality management processes are delivering their intended outputs.

In the 2015 standard, there is now no requirement for a specific management representative and the responsibility now resides with top management to assign and manage all the quality management roles and responsibilities.

Key change from ISO 9001:2008

The quality management system is now the sole responsibility of top management and therefore, they are now accountable and must be able to demonstrate involvement.

Top management must support other managers within the organisation to help them lead within their areas of responsibility. This clause now requires management to not only demonstrate commitment to the management system, but to demonstrate effective leadership also.

Read Next: ISO 9001 Requirements - Planning

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