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10 things you need to know about the ISO 2015 revisions – STEP 5

10 things you need to know about the ISO 2015 revisions – STEP 5

In my previous blogs I covered:

Step 1: ISO Publication and Beyond
Step 2: The High Level Structure
Step 3: Clauses 1, 2 and 3 – Scope, Normative References and Terms and Definitions
Step 4: Context of the Organization

A quick reminder of the 10 Clauses of the HLS is below. This blog covers Clause 5.

1. Scope

2. Normative References

3. Terms and references

4. Context of the organization

5. Leadership

6. Planning

7. Support

8. Operation

9. Performance evaluation

10. Improvement


STEP 5: Leadership

This Clause includes a good proportion of content which will be familiar from the existing ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, and also introduces some more subtle innovations to the concepts of the role of higher level management.

Under the sub-clause 5.1- Leadership and Commitment, both standards follow closely the common content of the High Level Structure (HLS) text. This encompasses a range of key activities which Top Management need to “demonstrate leadership and commitment with respect to the management system”. Therein lies one of the innovations delivered by the common High Level Structure- Top Management has to show leadership for the management system rather than just demonstrate commitment. In this way the standards are again, as with Clause 4, trying to drive the oversight of the management system to the highest level of management- and make it a key component of the organization and its core business processes and activities. It doesn’t mean that the leadership have to be able to regurgitate the policy or recite the objectives and targets- what it means is that an internal or external interested party should feel entitled to have a discussion with leadership about core and critical aspects of the business, because these are at the heart of the management system also.

With sub-clause 5.2- Quality and Environmental Policy, we are on familiar ground, with similar content to the existing ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, and the common requirements for availability internally and externally, and to be documented and communicated within the organization.

With the last sub-clause, 5.3- Organizational Roles, Responsibilities and Authorities, we again see very similar content and principles to the existing ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, but in a similar way to sub-clause 5.1, Top Management are more directly identified as being responsible ensuring that these aspects of the system are properly assigned, communicated and understood. Also the specific role of a Management Representative has now disappeared- a topic of some debate at recent ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 seminars with questions being asked about what will happen to all of those people employed across organizations as Management Representatives! Actually the Standards still contain all of the key activities and responsibilities of that previously identified role, but removal of it means that the activities and responsibilities lie more directly within the core structure of the organization- including Top Management. It should hopefully mean that ‘all things management system’ won’t be ‘palmed off’ to the Management Representative to deal with.

In summary – Clause 5 contains a lot of content which we are all familiar with, but the one main difference is with the emphasis on leadership and commitment and the expectation that senior and high level management will be more actively engaged with the management system.

In Step 6 we will look at an area of more significant change – Clause 6: Planning.


Contact us for support: Transition to the ISO 2015 revisions

Do you have questions related to  the ISO 9001:2015 & ISO 14001:2015 revisions? Post them in our LinkedIn group , and our auditors Doug Milne and Niall Pembery will get back to you.


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