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What Does Your Quality Policy Say About You?

Firstly, what is a quality policy? It is a concise document that defines organisational goals and objectives with regard to quality, a commitment to meeting stated requirements, and an undertaking to drive continuous improvement throughout the organisation’s activities. It must be suitable for the organisation and provide a framework for establishing, communicating, and monitoring performance against agreed quality objectives.

Therefore the quality policy must be:
•Consistent with the organisation’s strategic objectives and define who in the organisation is responsible for implementing the documented quality management system (QMS);
•Appropriate to the needs and planned development of the organisation;
•Relate to the requirements and expectations of both internal and external customers;
•Demonstrate senior management’s commitment to providing adequate resources to support the achievement of quality objectives. This should include resources to develop staff awareness of the requirements of the policy; and where appropriate
•Identify the QMS standards that the organisation is seeking to comply with e.g. ISO 9000.

The quality policy needs to be reviewed at least annually. The review process often includes the following:
•Confirming that the quality policy has been signed by a senior manager, e.g. Managing Director, CEO, to demonstrate management commitment to its contents;
•Ensuring that the organisational strategy defined is still valid, appropriate and that the quality policy complies with legislative and market requirements and any changes to these requirements since the document was last issued have been addressed; and
•Determining whether quality objectives have been met and continuous improvement can be formally demonstrated.

Why write a quality policy? If you have a quality policy it can formally demonstrate the organisation’s commitment to comply with legislation, international standards, and meeting customer requirements. It sets a benchmark for the organisation so that it can measure its own performance. If such commitments are informal, then the organisation as well as the senior management cannot be held to account! So what your quality policy say about you?

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