This sub clause is trying to be all inclusive. It is trying to leverage the quality management system away from the quality manager and or the ‘management representative’ and forcing stuff up the corporate food chain. There are no real changes from the previous version of the standard, other than the use of the words…. top management.
The requirements are therefore;
The company's top management ensures that the responsibilities and authorities for relevant roles are assigned, communicated and understood within the company. The company's top management has assigned the responsibility and the authority for: ensuring that the Quality Management System conforms to the requirements of the standard; ensuring that the processes are delivering their intended output; reporting on the performance of the Quality Management System and on opportunities for improvement (see 10.1), to the company top management; ensuring the promotion of customer focus throughout organization and; ensuring that the integrity of the Quality Management System is maintained when changes to the Quality Management System are planned and implemented.
It is all a bit of a yawn. Whilst trying to ensure that there is senior, top, upper management involvement enshrined in the various processes of roles, responsibilities and authorities, the standard again falls short of meaningful prescription or direction.
Why set a rule or guideline that therefore lacks retained or maintained documented information? Quite simply, it is an auditor’s nightmare, a consultant’s dream and a misinterpreted postulation of what is needed by a company to fulfil the perceived requirement of the standard.
But wait, I won’t leave you in the lurch. Here is what you need to do.
So, the very first thing you can do is assign, communicate, understand the RAVs. How? Well in a small company, you can hold a meeting and tell people. Then you can walk the talk and demonstrate that what you said is ‘gospel’. Other ways are through management reviews, management meetings, performance reviews, employment contracts, job descriptions (or any of the 10’s or derivatives or them). Understanding is through similar mechanisms or through training or tests, or feedback loops or observation or quality control. Hell, how long is a piece of string. There is no right or wrong here. Just consistent documented information that enables your staff to get it right and enables your certification auditor to judge the company’s effectiveness of this clause.
And now to the specifics…the company's top management has assigned the responsibility and the authority for: ensuring that the Quality Management System conforms to the requirements of the standard – OK who signed that pesky quality policy?? Next, ensuring that the processes are delivering their intended output – smells like supervisor / manager functions of each process. Next, reporting on the performance of the Quality Management System and on opportunities for improvement (see 10.1) – again, same, same. Next to ensuring the promotion of customer focus throughout organization – policy, CEO talks, etc and finally; ensuring that the integrity of the Quality Management System is maintained when changes to the Quality Management System are planned and implemented – Oh please, what company doesn’t practice the rudiments of change management practices?
Next, you can decide on what format the RRAs are described. Retained, maintained or any other means….You decide.