According to ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems, the purpose of management review is to ensure a management system’s continued “suitability, adequacy and effectiveness”.
It is the step in the cycle where the custodians of the system reflect on the performance thus far and determine if there are any additional opportunities for improvement to be gained. Unlike the tweaks that are made throughout other parts of the cycle, management review can often drive fundamental changes to the system as a whole, including changes to the organisation’s policy and often to its objectives.
Unfortunately, management review is a process which is often misunderstood by the managers’ who own an Environmental (EMS) or Occupational Health & Safety Management System (OHSMS). In fact many OH&S and Environmental professionals struggle with its purpose.
A common pitfall is confusing ‘checking’ activities such as inspections and audits with management review. Another is confusing routine management meetings with a system review. All of these activities make up what is known as ‘monitoring’. Their intent is to ensure that the organisation is doing all the things it says it does. Whilst monitoring is a vital component of an environmental / OH&S Management System, it is not Management Review. More on Monitoring in future instalments.
Management Review Scoping
The specifics of management review will vary from organisation to organisation. Everything from the nature of the business to the geographic spread of operations will affect the process. Other issues to consider is the scope of the management system (e.g. OHS Management System, Environmental Management System, Integrated Systems etc), total employee numbers, size of the management team and the roles played by various persons.
The organisations objectives and how they are measured also affect management review. Some organisations have particular metrics they must keep as part of legal compliance, industry best practice or head office requirements. All these and other forms of data are inputs for management review.
Regardless of these differences, it is necessary for those conducting management review to ensure they plan and scope the process to focus on the key objective of management review, being determining the system’s suitability, adequacy and effectiveness.
Having the required properties for the task
Having the quality and/or resources for the task
Producing (or at least capable) of producing the desired effect
The Clock Analogy
Part of the key role of OSHEM Solutions consultants is assisting senior management to understand their roles in managing their organisation’s OHS & environmental risk and championing their management system. We find that our clock analogy assists in this process and would like to share it with you as a final method of clarification.
Monitoring activities such as inspections, audits, testing of equipment, safety observations and even the meetings where statistics or progress against plans are discussed are like checking a clock. They are used to see if we are still running on time with the intent of reaching our goal.
Management Review is a much higher order process. It’s about considering the findings of all those ‘clock checking’ activities, not solely for the purpose of determining if we have ran the race on time but also to ask whether the clock is the best tool for the organisation. Perhaps a watch would be better? What kind of watch? Could we use an integrated tool such as the clock on our mobile phone or even our laptop?
Need Further Information?
OSHEM Solutions is an Environmental Management and OHS Consultancy which assists our clients in planning, implementing, monitoring and reviewing their management system. If you would like more information on how we can provide your organisation with expert assistance, please contact us.