Ted Schmitt

Quite Involved in Discussions
#1
How do you guys define and communicate the responsibility and authority within your organizations?

I used to have a table in my Quality Manual which listed the clauses and which positions where responsible for each. During our recent surveillance audit, the auditor suggested that I include this in my process map of each process which I thought was a good idea... what are your opinions?
 

Stijloor

Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
#2
Re: 5.5.1 - Responsibility and Authority

How do you guys define and communicate the responsibility and authority within your organizations?

I used to have a table in my Quality Manual which listed the clauses and which positions where responsible for each. During our recent surveillance audit, the auditor suggested that I include this in my process map of each process which I thought was a good idea... what are your opinions?
Hello Ted,

This is wat I do:
  1. Organizational chart (titles+names) for the company's information system only. These are updated when personnel changes occur.
  2. Organizational chart in the Quality Manual (titles only).
  3. Job/function descriptions tied to the job.
  4. Procedures that list responsibilities (by title).
Works like a charm.

Stijloor.
 
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SteelMaiden

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#3
We have several things:
a generic listing of responsibilities in the QM
Color coded reponsibilities in the "interaction between the processes of the QMS" section of our QM.
Responsibilities defined in each procedure and work instruction.
 

JaneB

Inactive Registered Visitor
#4
I used to have a table in my Quality Manual which listed the clauses and which positions where responsible for each. During our recent surveillance audit, the auditor suggested that I include this in my process map of each process which I thought was a good idea... what are your opinions?
Would this really add any value? Sounds to me like something that would/could be a huge amount of work to create and to maintain, for fairly dubious or minimal gain.

I had an auditor once who wanted the company to add to all of its 200-300 odd online documents precisely which ISO clause each of them related to. But the benefits of same? IMO, it was because this would make their 'tick and flick' audit approach easier to do, and advised the client against it.

I can't see any benefits of this particular idea myself. But I rarely see a single role as having single responsibility for a single clause.

I most commonly use #1, #3 and #4 from Stijloor's post. I will also sometimes have a summary of overall responsibilities in the Quality Manual/Policy Manual/Call It What You Will Manual, but that depends on whether it will provide any value for the particular organisation involved.
 

Jim Wynne

Forum Moderator
Moderator
#5
What seems to be missing in all of this (and many, if not most quality systems) is the understanding of the importance of responsibility and authority. Things go wrong all the time because people have been assigned responsibility for things they can't change due to lack of authority.

The quality manual should be the official method of delegation of authority in the QMS. It should clearly state not only who has responsibility, but who has officially been granted authority by top management. Top management should be made to understand this concept and accept it before signing off on the manual, otherwise the single most important principle (imo) in ISO 9001 has not been satisfied.
 

AndyN

A problem shared...
Staff member
Super Moderator
#6
Quite so, Jim. An excellent point. Authority gives an extra dimension to peoples' responsibilities and without it, nothing gets done!

In terms of documentation, I think the focus should be on the process defining responsibilities. From the highest level of process description to the lower activities, the responsibilities can be defined very well. I think the idea of job descriptions and organization charts to to re-inforce silos, so making the working documents.
 

Stijloor

Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
#7
What seems to be missing in all of this (and many, if not most quality systems) is the understanding of the importance of responsibility and authority. Things go wrong all the time because people have been assigned responsibility for things they can't change due to lack of authority.

The quality manual should be the official method of delegation of authority in the QMS. It should clearly state not only who has responsibility, but who has officially been granted authority by top management. Top management should be made to understand this concept and accept it before signing off on the manual, otherwise the single most important principle (imo) in ISO 9001 has not been satisfied.
Excellent points Jim!

Responsibility can be defined. Yes, authority can be granted. Formally. But I've learned long time ago that "real" authority is determined by personalities and company politics. I am sure that many of us learned who to go see if you wanted things done. Informal.

Hence the expression: "It's not what you know, but who you know."

Stijloor.
 

Jim Wynne

Forum Moderator
Moderator
#8
This is exactly the reason that ISO 9001 calls for clear definitions of authority. It's not enough to say, "That's the way it's always been." If a company hasn't defined authority clearly and decisively, and honored the official delegations, it should never be considered compliant with the standard.
 

Stijloor

Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
#9
This is exactly the reason that ISO 9001 calls for clear definitions of authority. It's not enough to say, "That's the way it's always been." If a company hasn't defined authority clearly and decisively, and honored the official delegations, it should never be considered compliant with the standard.

Where this is most lacking:
  • 8.3 Control of nonconforming product. Find out what's been decided, by whom, and what really happens.
  • 7.2 Customer related processes. Find out what sales is allowed to promise and what the company is able to deliver.
Stijloor.
 

Mark R.

Inactive Registered Visitor
#10
I don't undestand the recommendation for a process map for this purpose, and I can't see the value added.

Usually, an organizational chart and a corresponding table identifying the organization's key personnel and summarizing their responsibilities is more than adequate.

Mark
 
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