All management system standards include some form of requirement for a Management Review. The requirement is generally framed as; ‘Top management shall review the organisation’s management system at planned intervals to ensure its continuing suitability, adequacy and effectiveness.’

In many cases, Top Management is misinterpreted within organisations as the team or committee immediately responsible for the maintenance or review of the system, be it health and safety, environment, or quality. However, ISO 9001 defines Top Management as the group of people who direct and control the organisation at the highest level and who have ‘the power to delegate authority and provide resources within the organisation.’

It would follow that a management review cannot be undertaken by a committee that only comprises middle management.  One would expect to see the level of management that is considered the ‘highest level’ and who make decisions for the whole of the organisation (or at least the part of the organisation covered in the scope of the management system).

After ensuring that the correct positions are represented in the Management Review, the next issue is what should be discussed? Again, the standards provide direction in this area. AS/NZS 4804:2001 Occupational health and safety management systems – General guidelines on principles, systems and supporting techniques providing useful guidance on what to include.  In general, an effective management review should look at the system as a whole and not just what is occurring at the time.  An agenda should include:

  • An assessment of the Management System effectiveness, continuing suitability, and adequacy;
  • Review of the respective Policy or associated policies;
  • Review of performance indicators and trends;
  • Findings of the audits and inspections;
  • Changes in relevant legislation and the effect on the management system;
  • Changes in organisational operations or structure;
  • Lessons learnt from incidents and / or non conformances;
  • Feedback from employees, customers, providers or members of the public; and
  • Training.

Whilst many organisations hold a planned management review (generally annually) it is possible, and permissible, to incorporate the review into regular senior management meetings to build on the principle that the management system should be integrated into line management activities.  This could include ensuring that the elements listed above are included in regular management meetings, though not all elements need be included in all meetings.  For example, the policy need only be looked at annually and performance indicators quarterly. Changes in legislation need only be discussed if there are any relevant changes at the time of the meeting.

It is imperative that a record of management review meetings is retained, not only for certification purposes but to record discussions and ensure actions are tracked and communicated throughout the organisation.

A management review should never be held simply to meet the requirements of a standard, it should be a part of good governance, where top management considers and examines the management system as a whole as part of managing the business to ensure it is operating effectively.

Please contact QRMC for more assistance to optimise your management review processes.