Someone Retires - Who assumes responsibility for documents that person approved?



Some one retires

According to the old ISO standard and new ISO standard,

Question 1
A person retires. A new person takes his place. Do all the old documents (procedures) the retired person signed have to be resigned by the new person? with a new revision level?

Question 2
If we now start printing a form that now has "approved by," and "date approved" printed on it,, do we have to change the revision level of the form? we generate the form off a pc and it was suggested that this information be printed on it.

Comments are welcome.

M Greenaway

I have often thought it would be a great idea to get new managers to sign up to the procedures by actually reviewing and approving them when they take over - never seen it done though !

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
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1. My opinion is no, unless your documentation control procedures say otherwise. My procedures say that documents are approved by a person who represents a function, position, or title (i.e. QA Manager, Sales Manager, Vice-President, etc.) so if Joe Smith is the Sales Manager who approved a document/procedure/WI, etc. and he retires, quits, is fired, etc. the document is still valid even though Ed Jones takes over as Sales Manager. This lets me avoid having to revise docs. every time someone changes positions.

2. I think it depends. What does your doc. control procedures say? I do not rev. control forms unless they act as, or are a part of, work instructions. If the form is simply a place to record data in a consistent way, I do not rev. control it. If the form gives instructions, and therefore failing to control it could affect the product, then I rev. control it.

Hope this makes sense -- if not write back.

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
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M Greenaway said:

I have often thought it would be a great idea to get new managers to sign up to the procedures by actually reviewing and approving them when they take over - never seen it done though !

I understand where you are coming from, but I handle that by telling the newbie which procedures are/were authorized by his function and which he is therefore directly responsible for and suggest he review them and tell me if he sees any need for a change. If he/she sees no problems no further paperwork is required. If they are in that position they need to show some responsibility. I also tell them which procedures he or his people are responsible for following, so he can get up-to-speed. Seems easier and less hassle than requiring a re-sign. JMO.

Jimmy Olson

I would agree with Mike and say that there is no need to have documents resigned if they aren't changing. We have plenty of procedures here that have been in place for quite some time and have seen a number of people come and go. New people review the procedures that are relvant to them to familiarize themselves with our process. It would be a waste of time to have a process to resign something when they aren't really going to fully understand everything on day one. Why have someone sign something when they get here when they might change the procdure a few months down the road after they understand everything?

As far as the second question, I don't see a problem, as long as you allow it. Our procedure specifically allows us to make minor changes without reving the document as long as it doesn't change the function (such as typos, grammatical stuff, etc.). I think this particular situation would depend on the form and any relevant instructions or procedures. If it is simply a line for approval within the company, it doesn't change the form itself.

I would review your documentation procedures though if you do this. If you are going to be signing approval on the form instead of, or in addition to somewhere else, then you will need to update your approval procedure in some way.


Super Moderator
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I gotta go with Mike and Richard here. A new manager probably does not have the knowledge needed coming into the job to make a good call on re-approving a document. Tell him to look them over as he gets his feet wet and make revs as he changes process.

As for approval names on forms, it does kind of depend on what your system says....that being said, IMHO, I don't like putting anybody's name on forms, job titles, OK, but names may come and names may go, so to speak.

Have a good one!
Re: Some one retires

I seem to follow the crowd here:

1: No... unless your procedures say so.

2: See 1. And Steel is absolutley right as usual...


Lyn N Iles

May I suggest that if the person who retires happens to be the head honcho of the company or division, then the new incumbent should sign the overarching quality policy document as a demonstration of top management commitment.

Whether anybody agrees with me or not - hooray! My first post, although I scan the site regularly.

Lots of good stuff here.


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Okay Folks, I need your opinions here....

I posted here becuase this situation is along a similar line...but with a sad twist.

In February, the owner of the company I work for passed away. Now, the only document he had to approve was the policy manual, which hasn't changed since it's original release in 2000. All other management reviews/approvals/etc. were done by myself and the VP. Now the VP is president and majority share holder. Does anyone see a problem with leaving this as is until I go for the 9K2K upgrade later this year.

Let me add a little more info. The owner and VP were also best friends. I was in no way confortable asking him to re-sign the cover page to replace the owners name.


And thanks,



Super Moderator
This can potentially be dangerous ground. In the crowd I deal with we have the term tossed about "knew or should have known". A judge won't buy off on "I wasn't familiar with the procedure". If you have a position of responsibility you should know what you are responsible for.

When a new commander takes over a unit he/she must re-sign all standing orders for the organization. This accomplishes a couple of things, some of which are.

1.The new commander becomes familiar with what is expected and required.
2. Unit pesonnel become aware that the commander is familiar with requirements.
3. By signing the commander takes ownership and acknowledges responsibility.

In my civilian worklife I have applied the same mindset. If I'm going to be responsible and held accountable I want to know and let others know that I know also.
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