ISO 9001 The Basics Explained: Clause 5.3 Organisational Roles, Responsibilities and Authorities

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To fulfill the commitments made in the Quality Policy, Top Management must assign roles, responsibilities and authorities relevant for the QMS, communicate them and ensure they are understood within the organisation.

Those involved must be aware of their impact on the QMS results and how they can contribute, so assigning and communicating the roles, responsibilities and authorities within the organisation is very important. Top Management in small companies may decide to only assign one person to manage the QMS, whereas in larger companies, a Project Manager or a team may be assigned to manage the QMS.

Top management must assign responsibilities and authorities for:

  • Ensuring the QMS fulfils the requirements of ISO 9001:2015;
  • Ensuring the processes are delivering their intended outputs;
  • Reporting on the effectiveness of the QMS and highlighting opportunities for improvement;
  • Ensuring the promotion of customer focus throughout the organisation;
  • Ensuring the integrity of the QMS is maintained when changes to the QMS are planned and implemented.

The accountability of the QMS should not fall upon one individual. This is why the Quality Representative is no longer in the revised Standard. Top Management must take the lead and consider carefully who will receive certain roles, responsibilities and authorities. These persons must be competent in their abilities to fulfil their assignment and have the necessary knowledge of QMS requirements to meet Top Management expectations.

Top Management may choose to communicate and record roles, responsibilities and authorities in a documented format. Roles, responsibilities and authorities could be assigned through documented job descriptions or an organisational chart would be a practical way of recording and managing this.

Top Management have to take sufficient action to ensure the roles, responsibilities and authorities are communicated and understood. Perhaps through a one to one with the employee or a training session. Understanding their part to play in the QMS will give the organisation and much higher chance of establishing a robust QMS and conform to the standard.



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