Leadership in the ISO Standards

Following on from last week’s article on translation of the ISO management system standards, this week I’m exploring some specific clauses on Context and Leadership.


Before I go any further, I should preface this with a warning – whatever you document in your management system should be for the benefit of the business, not just to show an auditor. There are very few requirements in the standards stipulated to be documented.

The scope of certification is one – it must be documented. But internal or external issues, interested parties’ expectations, and even your processes don’t have to be documented. As company management you must to be able to demonstrate you have good processes to understand and monitor changes in the above, but if you put them all together in a ‘COTO log’ you are probably doing that to make the audit easy, and unnecessarily creating work for yourself.


The key to successful implementation of quality, WHS and environmental management systems is the leadership. Company leaders who actively drive and promote their management system through appropriate resourcing and integration into business-as-usual activities understand the value to their business. Again, making stuff up to show an auditor is not BAU! If leaders are not supportive it falls on the HSEQ professional to advise and influence.

Final translation for this week – leaders, ensure your people have clear responsibilities and authorities for their roles. When it comes to health & safety, this is one that does need to be documented.