What do we mean by ‘Flow Up’ and ‘Flow Down’? A flow down is where, in a document, it proscribes (requires) another document (or part of a document) which must exist. For example, if your quality manual says your company will track training in accordance with procedure A-12BC, then that procedure (A-12BC) must exist. The quality manual is, in effect, ‘flowing down’ the requirement to a sub-document.
A Flow Down requirement does NOT have to be specified by a reference. A Policy, for example, normally states something shall happen or be complied with. An example is a policy which states: “All employees shall comply with ESD policies and procedures” implies these exist without actually referencing them (not always a good idea). This is definitely a flow down requirement.
It’s a good idea to provide references, but often this is not possible. In the case of sector policies, for example, there may be many locations which are expected to comply. We comply by providing ‘local’ documentation which fulfills the sector policy requirements.
Flow Up vs Flow Down
Not all documents have flow down requirements.
Flow downs are normal.
Flow downs generally reference lower level documents, but references are not mandatory.