Issue 16 – Clause 5.2: Policy
Clause 5.2: Policy
What’s new in Clause 5.2?… In our last Newsletter (ISO 9001:2015 Newsletter Issue 15) we discussed the topic of “Leadership”, and now here in Clause 5.2 we address the term “Policy”, and in this case “Quality Policy”.
NOTE: This Clause does include a requirement for “documented information”.
The new numbering format…
Element 4 – Context of the organization
Element 5 – Leadership
Element 6 – Planning
Element 7 – Support
Element 8 – Operation
Element 9 – Performance evaluation
Element 10 – Improvement
Clause 5.2 Policy consists of two (2) Sub-Clauses as listed below:
5.2.1 Establishing the Quality Policy
5.2.2 Communicating the Quality Policy
Sub-Clause 5.2.1 Establishing the Quality Policy – The requirements within this sub-clause really didn’t change much from the previous 2008 edition except in one area, found in 5.2.1a). Here they’ve added the words “Top management shall establish… a quality policy that… is appropriate to the context of the organization and supports its strategic direction“. Well as you know, “context” was covered back in Clause 4.1, and “strategic direction” was also mentioned back in Clauses 4.1 and 5.1. These new words are another example of how they have attempted to align the “actual running of the business” with the ISO 9001 Standard, which in my opinion can only help the ongoing management support needed for every QMS.
This sub-clause gives you a reason to get this topic back on the boardroom table. The Quality Policy sets the tone as to how Top Management views quality. It is the goal that the organization is trying to attain. It’s the reason why you installed the QMS in the first place… so you can achieve the Quality Policy! Many “Quality Policy” statements have become stale and outdated since the last major revision to the Standard back in the year 2000. These new requirements regarding context and strategic direction should initiate a discussion with Top Management to get their input on this key document. Many companies also have developed “Mission Statements”, so here is a great opportunity to see if it can be used in place of your “Quality Policy”, and satisfy the requirements within this sub-clause.
Sub-Clause 5.2.2 Communicating the Quality Policy – Within this sub-clause you will find a number of new requirements starting with 5.2.2a) which asks that you make your Quality Policy available to everyone whenever they wish to view it. Some employees only get to see the Quality Policy during orientation training, and if it isn’t posted in multiple areas then is it really “available” to them?
Sub-clause 5.2.2b) asks that you ensure that the Quality Policy is “applied” within the organization. First they ask that you make it “available” and now they want you to “apply” it. As I said above, the Quality Policy is the goal of your QMS, and as such should be applied by employees to help them make the right decisions for the business, when quality is involved.
Finally, Sub-clause 5.2.2c) asks that you also make the Quality Policy “…available to relevant interested parties, as appropriate“. First off, interested parties were covered back in Clause 4.2. Second, there is lots of flexibility in the word “relevant” so be sure to go back to how you addressed Clause 4.2, what interested parties were involved, and then determine how each of them will be able to view your Quality Policy if they wish to. This could be as simple as placing it on your website (which it probably should be anyways) and then direct any inquiries from interested parties to that location.
Be sure to watch for our next Newsletter issue where we will cover another section of ISO 9001:2015…
PS: Don’t forget to look at the Q&A section below for some final thoughts…
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This combines the ISO 9001:2015 Essentials Session with a Gap Audit – This approach is used to assist organizations in launching their transition efforts for this new ISO Standard. This event accomplishes two things: a) it provides education on the new ISO 9001:2015 Standard for your key personnel (i.e. internal auditors; etc.), by highlighting the differences from the 2008 version; and b) assesses the gap from where you are today to where you need to be to achieve compliance to this new ISO Standard. Training certificates covering education on the new ISO 9001:2015 Standard, as well as issuing of a Gap Audit Report for distribution to your Top Management, are the two deliverables from this event. On a final note, a closing meeting can be arranged with key individuals so they can hear first hand the results of the Gap Audit that was performed. PS: We’ve also done this session with just the QMS Management Rep attending, which allowed them to quickly get up to speed on this new Standard, as well as to see how much of an effort the transition will be… and of course they receive their own Training Certificate as part of this event. This also allowed them to avoid traveling offsite to get the training they needed anyways, as evidence for their Certification Bodies.
The two (2) day Internal Process Auditing for ISO 9001:2015 Session (also covers requirements in ISO 19011) is focused on a process approach to auditing with the objective being not only to assess conformance of the quality management system, but also to uncover process improvements during an audit. This goes hand in hand with the process auditing requirements found within ISO 19011 and the process approach covered in ISO 9001:2015, which promotes continual process improvement throughout this Standard. An enhanced checklist is developed, and there will be workshops throughout, to reinforce learning, as well as a live, practice audit. If you are looking to meet the ISO 9001:2015 internal audit requirements and to “raise the bar” for your internal audit program then this is the course you should consider.
Q: How do you perform a gap audit for Clause 5.2 of ISO 9001:2015?
A: For Clause 5.2, a Gap Audit checklist should cover these areas:
– Obtain a copy of the Quality Policy and use it for discussions with the Management Team as part of a group interview, or for one-on-one interviews with members of Top Management.
– How has Top Management ensured that the Quality Policy is appropriate to the “context of the organization”?
– How has Top Management ensured that the Quality Policy “supports the strategic direction of the organization”?
– How has Top Management ensured that the Quality Policy is made available? Examples?
– How has the Quality Policy been maintained as “documented information”?
– How has Top Management “applied” the Quality Policy within the organization? Examples?
– Has Top Management ensured that the Quality Policy is made available to relevant interested parties? How?
(Make sure to interview more than one person and obtain examples for the items listed above)
Until next time…
Helping Business Professionals Reduce Risk and Remove Waste!