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How to conduct a successful management review

CertiKit’s Technical Author Ted Spiller is an auditor for ISO9001, ISO14001, ISO45001 and ISO22301. In this latest article he explains the importance of the management review and the key components of a successful review.

Regardless of which management system an organization has selected to implement, an important part of ensuring its effectiveness is the efficient conduct of a management review.  It ensures that the management system remains relevant for immediate and longer term plans of the organization, whilst supporting continuous improvement efforts.

management review

Why is the management review important?

For starters, it most likely will be one of the first things an Auditor will investigate during a surveillance or recertification audit. ISO Standards now place greater emphasis on risk-based thinking to ensure that embedded systems are in step with the strategic direction of an organization.  The management review forces the executive management team to re-evaluate all that has been put in place and what is currently being implemented.

The management review is a scheduled and structured review process that takes a closer look at the established management system. It differs from an internal audit in that it does not emphasize compliance but rather considers if what has been documented and implemented over the review period has worked and achieved the intended goals.

Who should participate in a management review?

Top management.  Strategists and decision-makers.  Heads of departments.  Since one of the objectives of the review is to see if the management system aligns with the organization’s strategic plans, it would not make any sense to conduct it without those responsible for developing and carrying out said strategies.

A management review provides the management team with an opportunity to analyse the organization and its performance from a different vantage point and allows them to critically evaluate the period covered and plan for the next one.

When should a management review take place?

At least once a year, ideally six months after certification or the most recent surveillance/recertification audit. We’d recommend conducting two management reviews in a year, with one happening along with the annual planning/budgeting meeting to benefit from the synergies that would result from the coordinated effort.  This will provide opportunities to review progress against objectives, adjusting strategies and resources if necessary.  Conducting the management review in time with the organization’s financial year also allows for considering potential effect on departmental budgets and resources available.

Tips for a successful management review!

  • A clearly defined agenda is key to ensure all the important elements over the review period are covered in the meeting.
  • Documented evidence that demonstrates the effectiveness of the management system must be provided, not just an impression or opinion of its performance.
  • Data should be made available for presentation during the meeting with the meeting coordinator(s) tasked to collate and present.
  • Outputs of the review should be recorded in meeting minutes.
  • Any changes agreed and action plans made must be documented in the meeting minutes or as a separate plan.
  • Distribute the meeting minutes to all attendees and a follow up on completion of action items.

Conducting regular, structured, and systematic management reviews helps in ensuring that a culture of quality, continuous improvement, and efficiency is ingrained in an organization.  This will make maintenance of the management system easier and will allow the organization to reap the intended benefits.

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