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Management Reviews

What are Management Reviews, why are Management Reviews so important?

What is the Management Review?

The Management Review is a requirement under the ISO Standards that forms parts of the checks and balances built into the operation of the system to ensure it progresses going forwards. The Management Review involves checking over all the procedures to ensure that they are all still correct and up to date and to see whether any changes proposed during the previous period have been correctly and successfully applied. The Management Review also looks at a range of other inputs to determine how well the organisation is operating: staff feedback, customer feedback, assessors feedback (ISO assessors, financial auditors, other client audit teams etc), other stakeholder feedback (shareholders, locals, suppliers) and finally the internal audit feedback. All of this input should then be considered alongside the key remaining driver: Board goals for the next period. By combining the feedback and goals, the new changes to be made to the procedures can be identified – and thus can be carried out. This will incorporate all the necessary changes to the procedures so that in the subsequent period, the organisation will operate according to the new procedures and have reacted to the feedback as needed.

The Management Review is thus the key component of managing the organisation’s development. It allows the changes needed to drive the organisation forward to be incorporated into the revised procedures so that staff get clear instructions on what to do differently – otherwise there tends to be an announcement from the Board that something will change henceforth, but no further indication of what needs to be done differently – with the obvious result that nothing changes at all.


How does a Management Review work?

Using the various inputs from staff (morale, turnover, ideas, complaints), customers (satisfaction surveys, complaints, feedback, requests), assessors (audit comments from various sources), interaction with wider stakeholders (stockholders meetings, local community meetings, suppliers groups, banks, legal teams) and the Board, the Management Review can ascertain what needs to change in the organisation’s operating procedures.  Changes in procedures will change how the organisation addresses each of the separate groups as well as affecting its output and efficiency. Thus improvements flow through based on reactions to comments from a range of sources.


Who should carry out a Management Review?

This should include key senior management staff and at least one Board member if not all of them (depending on the size of the organisation).  Additionally those staff responsible and knowledgeable about the ISO systems administration need to be present as they are the ones to implement the changes. You may choose to have a consultant present to advise on what needs to be done if you are unsure (Contact Us for more details). You may also choose to have legal advice in the event that changes in the law have taken place or are about to – and these need to be taken into account as well.

The meeting is likely to take at least half a day if not longer.  It is not only key to maintaining your ISO Certification but also to the future development of your organisation


What training is needed to perform a Management Review?

Training can be divided into different levels depending on the role to be played within the Management Review:

  • Awareness training – for those that need to take part but are not driving it forwards – so that they understand the purpose of the Management Review, know what they will have to contribute and understand how to restrict the focus to the specific areas to be discussed (otherwise this can get wider and wider until nothing is off limits and the meeting never ends).
  • Administrative training – for those that need to carry out the changes that are decided upon as well as those that are running the meeting itself – to ensure that the pertinent areas are covered correctly and the appropriate minutes kept sufficient to meet the requirements of the ISO Standard while also making the process easy to run. Usually these personnel will not need Awareness training as they ought already to be sufficiently aware about how ISO Standards work.
  • Development training (primarily experiential) – for those tasked with leading the meeting to ensure that all that has to be done gets done and that it is completed effectively and efficiently without missing anything. This relates more to meetings management with the twist that it involves the strategic and tactical changes that the organisation will have to undergo in the next period.  Political acumen a bonus!

So far as we are aware, such training does not exist other than as a generic awareness concept. This does not negate the need for these skillsets nor that they may be necessary when they do not, in fact, exist. If you want assistance running Management Review meetings, please Contact Us for more details.


Why is the Management Review important?

The ISO Standards are built around the concept of a continuous circle of “Plan-Do-Check-Act” to evolve the development of any organisation.  The “Check” stage is embodied in two aspects of the ISO Standard – namely the internal audit and the Management Review.  The Management Review is the final “Check” before deciding what to change and what to develop or drop (ie the “Act” stage).  Once the Management Review has been completed, there are likely to be a series of resultant actions to be covered which may include developing the Procedures to include aspects discussed during the Management Review (this is effectively part of the next “Plan” component alongside other Board Strategy meetings and the like). After that the next “Do” phase will embody the changes made in the ongoing operation of the organisation – but now using the altered procedures designed to take the organisation forward to the next level.


What results from a Management Review?

A well run Management Review should achieve several targets:

Compliance with the requriements of the ISO Standard – namely to have clearly reviewed the documentation, policies, procedures, audits, feedback, records, legal registers and so forth to ensure still apposite in the current and future operation of the organisation.

Accept the input from the feedback loops (KPIs on customers, staff, locals, suppliers, shareholders and Board) so that by combining these inputs an agreed way forward can be determined for the organisation.

Initiate the implementation of the changes that are recognised as having to be made on the back of the review of the various feedback loops that are part of this process.  The rest of this phase may be carried out as actions distributed subsequent to the Management Review – and also fed back to the Board to ensure still in line with their desired approach.

Ideally out of the Management Review will come a series of commendations and rewards to those who have done well in the organisation in the past period. This is the most opportune moment to identify such individuals and whatever reward or recognition system is most appropriate for your organisation, this should kick in here.  Note that negative comments should not be announced so much as made individually as appropriate. Although it is worth recording that most failures can and should be seen to be traced back to the Board


When should a Management Review be carried out? How often should a Management Review be carried out?


A Management Review has to be carried out at least once a year under the ISO Standards regime.

There are cases to carry them out more often when the systems are undergoing a great deal of change in a short period of time (eg when first started, or at key points in evolution at later stages eg when being taken over or facing financial crises or whatever).

The other time that Management Reviews should take place more often is when the organisation is trying to grow and push – the more frequent Management Reviews will allow a level of flexibility to develop and define the evolution of the organisation more clearly if carried out on a more frequent basis than if carried out just once a year.

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