Hardly a day goes by without some organisation announcing that they can get you through ISO 9001 or other Standards cheaply and in double quick time.

There is a single accreditation body in the UK, this is UKAS, the UK Government decided that there should be only one body tasked with authorising certification bodies.  There are a good number of these and the certificates they issue bear the UKAS tick and crown logo.

These certification bodies must reach, and maintain a high standard to continue to claim that they are in fact an accredited certification body.   Regular and strict audits are carried out.  One principle is that no certification body can offer consultancy; this would be a conflict of interest and is prohibited.

On the other side non accredited organisations issue certificates claiming to meet the requirements of which ever standard is covered.  Some even show a logo claiming to be accredited by some other accreditation agency.  This is designed to fool anyone gullible enough to believe it.

UKAS is not a regulator and has no powers to stop these organisations carrying on.

A good number of these non accredited organisations have sprung up; some offer consultancy and certification as a package.  I often say to people who contact me “how can they fail to certify you when they have set up the system?   The sad truth daws on these people when they submit a certificate claiming to show compliance with a Standard only to find that it is not recognised, except by the issuing authority.

One other fact is clear; you cannot set up a system and get it certificated in 30 days (or less in one case) as clearly an assessor must be able to audit what you have done not what you are planning to do.  Evidence is just not there under these timescales.

Beware of non accredited organisations.  If it seems too good to be true it probably isn’t any good.

The official blog for independent Management Training
Consultancy, Quality Matters Limited.

All management standards issued since 2012 follow the Hi Level structure (HLS) set out in Annex SL of the ISO systems standard and each will have ten identical clauses.  This will make it easier to integrate standards and will simplify documentation. 

The ten clauses are:

  1. Scope
  2. Normative references
  3. Terms and definitions
  4. Context of the organisation
  5. Leadership
  6. Planning
  7. Support
  8. Operation
  9. Performance evaluation
  10. Improvement

ISO 9001 is a Model for quality management systems. It is a quality system certification scheme where a company’s processes are assessed to a quality standard.  This standard has been agreed in this country, the European Union and Internationally.

The Standard, which is now on its sixth generation, was first known as BS 5750.

Formal assessment of an organisation’s quality management system is carried out by an independent and accredited third party certification body.  If all the requirements are met, a certificate of conformity is issued.  Regular surveillance visits are carried out, subsequently, to ensure that the standard is being maintained.

Accreditation of the Certification Bodies (CB’s)  in the UK is carried out by UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service)  UKAS is the sole accreditor in the UK.

A register of quality competent firms is maintained by the Stationery Office (TSO) under subscription and is used as a reference for purchasing authorities.

The market-place is becoming ever more competitive. It is clear that only the companies providing goods or services of the required quality are going to be able to compete.

Put very simply BS EN ISO 9001 sets out the requirements of a quality management system which supports the delivery of a product or service, through the application of effective and continually improving systems, assuring conformity to customer and applicable legal requirements, whilst enhancing customer satisfaction.

Today’s Global Market means that companies throughout the world are able to offer their goods and services on equal terms.   The use of the internet and E-commerce for business makes it vital that we are able to compete.

        ISO 9001 makes it easier to compete in that market-place.

Product liability laws require a company to prove that it has taken all necessary and reasonable steps to produce safe products that minimise the risk to users.

  • ISO 9001 helps provide such assurance.
  • ISO 9001 requires 7 main sections (4-10) to be addressed before certification can take place.  

The 2015 standard does not allow any clauses to be excluded, unlike previous versions.

The official blog for independent Management Training
Consultancy, Quality Matters Limited.

This system is probably the most well-known standard in the world and provides confidence for customers that their quality needs will be satisfied and that the product or service will meet their specified requirements.

With its origins based on the Defence Standards through to AQAP (Allied Quality Assurance Publications) and BS5750, finishing up as the truly International ISO9001.  The current version is ISO 9001:2008.

It has been the policy of the International Standards Organisation (ISO) to review and update standards on a regular basis.

A review was carried out in March 2012 which decided that it still was fit for purpose for the time being.  However the ISO/TC176/SC2 (the committee responsible for updating the Standard) met in Bilbao in Spain on June 2012 to start the process of updating the ISO 9001 and its complementary standard ISO 9004. 

However this is not going to be completed any time soon, like most update schedules the ISO committee have produced a preliminary time line.

June 2012 the draft design and strategic plan stage 

The draft specification:

  1. The main task was to provide a core set of requirements that would be valid for another ten years or so.
  2. Continue to remain generic and relevant to organisations of all sizes and types
  3. Maintain focus on effective process management
  4. Ensure the standard reflects changes in quality management and technology
  5. Ensure that the standard meets the changing requirements for complex
  6. Ensure that the standard remains compatible with other ISO management standards
  7. Facilitates effective implementation by organisations and effective conformity assessment by first, second and third parties
  8. To use simplified language and writing styles to improve the ease of use and understanding of the standard.

December 2012 Draft design approved
April 2013  First committee draft for comment
March 2014 First draft ballot
November 2014 Final Draft for public comment
June 2015 Final draft ballot

and if all goes to plan……………………….

September 2015 – Publication

It is encouraging that this standard, which was the basis of all the management standards, will be kept up to date and will continue to be the most effective and visible quality management standard across the world.

The official blog for independent Management Training
Consultancy, Quality Matters Limited.