Must every procedure be proceeded by a policy?

U

unueco

#1
Hi,

I'm wondering if, in a three-tier document structure (QM -> Policy -> Procedure) must *EVERY* procedure have the superstructure of a policy proceeding it?

We are in the process of preparing to pursuit ISO certification. We are currently trying to organize our documentation. In addition to writing an overall Quality Manual, we currently have what might be described as a "random amalgamation" of documents: some general enough to be considered policies; other specific enough to be considered procedures.

On the one hand, its seems an awful waste of time to go around writing a bunch of "empty" policy documents just so they can fit nice and neatly in a structure. On the other hand, it does seem a little "weird" to have such an unbalanced structure.

Advice?
 
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John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
#2
Hi,

I'm wondering if, in a three-tier document structure (QM -> Policy -> Procedure) must *EVERY* procedure have the superstructure of a policy proceeding it?

We are in the process of preparing to pursuit ISO certification. We are currently trying to organize our documentation. In addition to writing an overall Quality Manual, we currently have what might be described as a "random amalgamation" of documents: some general enough to be considered policies; other specific enough to be considered procedures.

On the one hand, its seems an awful waste of time to go around writing a bunch of "empty" policy documents just so they can fit nice and neatly in a structure. On the other hand, it does seem a little "weird" to have such an unbalanced structure.

Advice?
unueco,

No. I've never understood this habit either.

Documented procedures are used to plan, operate, control and monitor processes so they are effective.

Study clause 4.1c and you can see that your procedures (documented and undocumented) usefully inform the process teams of the criteria for their process to be effective.

So, include a process objective (aka what is achieved by doing the work in accordance with the procedure). Naturally, you'll make sure these process objectives are aligned with your quality objectives.

Also, avoid lapsing into writing a purpose statement that attempts to justify the document. These statements usually repeat the title of the procedure so they are a waste of space too.

John
 
U

unueco

#3
Hi,

Thank you for your reply.

When I posted this message I must have neglected to click something. I did not get any email notification that there had been a reply. Just checked back now and found yours.

I shall take your advice to heart.

Thank you again.
 
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