ISO 9001:2015 7.2 Competence

#1
Good afternoon,

Our organization has a job description for every position with minimum education and experience background required. Besides, we provide job-related training and keep records of it. Our Human resources procedure says that managers can consider other criteria or referrals and might hire someone without minimum requirements described in the job description. Each year we discuss with our ISO external auditor, and he says that we can not do that. What is the best way to address this issue? As per my understanding, we are complying with clause 7.2 competence by proving job-related training and addressing in our procedure that managers might consider other criteria. Please suggest the best way to address this issue.
 
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Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#2
What you really need to do is a search here using the key word competence. This has been discussed extensively MANY times in discussions here.

E.g.: When exactly was "competence" added to the ISO-9001 standard?
and

site:elsmar.com competence at DuckDuckGo

Each year we discuss with our ISO external auditor, and he says that we can not do that.
This is silly. The 2015 standard was published about 4 years ago and the issue with your auditor has still not been resolved?
 
#3
What you really need to do is a search here using the key word competence. This has been discussed extensively MANY times in discussions here.

E.g.: When exactly was "competence" added to the ISO-9001 standard?
and

site:elsmar.com competence at DuckDuckGo


This is silly. The 2015 standard was published about 4 years ago and the issue with your auditor has still not been resolved?

Thanks for pointing out resources. We haven't hired any employees who do not meet our job description requirements until now. But now we need to hire one on a particular position because of top management requests that is why questions on how to address competency on this particular case re-appear. Anyway Thanks.
 

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
#5
Thanks for pointing out resources. We haven't hired any employees who do not meet our job description requirements until now. But now we need to hire one on a particular position because of top management requests that is why questions on how to address competency on this particular case re-appear. Anyway Thanks.
The managers calling for the new hire will know what abilities, skills and knowledge they need from this new employee. Accordingly they develop the job description so the recruiting process can seek candidates who likely will be able to do the job well.

On selecting the new employee they may offer the job for a trial period or not. New employees usually work under close supervision (of a competent supervisor) until they have shown themselves to be competent.

Training may be required to impart any missing abilities, skills or knowledge.

So, where is that new job description or job specification?
 

Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
#6
With due respect to your auditor, you can do whatever you want. The job descriptions set min. criteria regarding background and education. Your procedures, rightly allow deviation if necessary. None of this has anything to do with "competency." Presumably, based on experience your min. criteria make it highly likely the hire will be competent. But, there aren't any guarantees. You'll still need to evaluate competency.
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Admin
#7
What is the best way to address this issue?
Competence is not an attribute, but a variable. There are degrees of competence, and between you and me, your external auditor is not very competent either. A competent external auditor CLEARLY identifies the requirement your organization is not in conformance with. Just to say: "you can't do this" is not an outcome from a competent CB auditor.

Requirements for competence obviously depend on the job at hand. Some will require very formal academic proof, such as having a Professional Engineering License in the State of...., a Registered Nurse Certification in the State of...., etc... Most jobs don't have such requirements. The record required to demonstrate "evidence of competence" CAN BE a combination of training records, performance appraisal/reviews where a line manager confirms past performance and describe future actions to enhance the subordinate's degree of competence, certificates, diplomas, etc....
 

Big Jim

Super Moderator
#8
Your auditor is likely correct. The standard is VERY clear on the topic.

7.2 "The organization shall: a) determine the necessary competence of person(s) doing work under its control that effects the performance and effectiveness of the quality management system . . . "

It is a requirement that the organization "determine the necessary competence".

Further it states "d) retain appropriate documented information as evidence of competence".

The standard doesn't require that you use job descriptions to determine the necessary competencies. There could be other ways. Job descriptions are commonly used for this though. Complications arise when job descriptions also are used for other things such as recruitment or a place to cover HR requirements.

One should keep in mind that job descriptions belong to the organization and they have the ability and authority to change them as needed. If the job description doesn't match the best candidate THEN CHANGE IT.

Make it work for you, not work against it.

Don't blame the auditor when he finds a weakness THAT YOU COULD HAVE AND SHOULD HAVE FIXED.
 

Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
#9
Your auditor is likely correct. The standard is VERY clear on the topic.

7.2 "The organization shall: a) determine the necessary competence of person(s) doing work under its control that effects the performance and effectiveness of the quality management system . . . "

It is a requirement that the organization "determine the necessary competence".

Further it states "d) retain appropriate documented information as evidence of competence".

The standard doesn't require that you use job descriptions to determine the necessary competencies. There could be other ways. Job descriptions are commonly used for this though. Complications arise when job descriptions also are used for other things such as recruitment or a place to cover HR requirements.

One should keep in mind that job descriptions belong to the organization and they have the ability and authority to change them as needed. If the job description doesn't match the best candidate THEN CHANGE IT.

Make it work for you, not work against it.

Don't blame the auditor when he finds a weakness THAT YOU COULD HAVE AND SHOULD HAVE FIXED.
Baloney. Their procedures allow them to deviate from the "job description," whatever that is. We have no idea whether their "descriptions" even address competency vs. background. As long as they evaluate their employees' competency do to the job at hand and have records of that evaluation, they should be good.
 

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
#10
Do what you think is right and what works for your business. Discuss it among yourselves and make sure you believe it meets the requirements of the standard.

If the auditor doesn't like it, make him write it up as a formal NC citing the requirement and objective evidence of how you don't meet it, and go from there. Once everything is documented, including the NC if the auditor writes it up, things should be less ambiguous. If the NC is bullcrap, then appeal it. Won't be the first BS NC written by a registrar auditor, won't be the last.
 
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