Management system guidance

5.0 Leadership

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5.1 Leadership and Commitment

5.1.1 General

Top management must ensure that the requirements of the management system, including the policies and objectives, are consistent with the strategic context and direction of your organization, and that the policies and objectives are established whilst ensuring that the human and financial resources needed for implementing the management system are available.

You should look for evidence that Top management has taken a ‘hands-on’ approach to the management system during interviews and whilst recording compliance to other requirements e.g. determining organizational context, policies, objectives, management review minutes, provision of resources etc.

  1. How are policies and objectives established?
  2. Do they align with the strategic direction and the organizational context?
  3. How are policies and objectives communicated within the organization?
  4. Can you demonstrate how policies are understood and applied?
  5. How are the requirements of the QMS integrated into the business processes?
  6. How is awareness of the process approach promoted?
  7. How are resources determined?
  8. How do you communicate the importance of effective QMS management, and conforming to QMS requirements;
  9. How do you ensure that the QMS achieves its intended results?
  10. How do you engage, direct and support people who contribute to the effectiveness of the QMS?
  11. How is continual improvement promoted?
  12. How are other relevant management roles supported to demonstrate leadership in their areas of responsibility?

Without solid management commitment, you will not have a successful management system. This is not a commitment in words; it is the continuous and active demonstration to everyone in the organization that the need to meet customers' expectations is vital. The actions required of Top management must include:

  1. Supporting the management system and actively promote the agenda;
  2. Encouraging the goal of meeting, customer, regulatory and statutory requirements;
  3. Developing and supporting the management system by defining and communicating policies;
  4. Establishing organizational objectives;
  5. Ensuring appropriate resources are available.
  6. Implementing and improving the management system by encouraging employees to achieve requirements;
  7. Reviewing management system performance;
  8. Ensuring resources are available to improve the management system.

5.1.2 Customer focus

Customer focus involves determining customer requirements and ensuring that processes exist to meet the requirements and achieve customer satisfaction. Enhance customer satisfaction by ensuring that customer requirements are identified.

The principal message that Top management must convey is that the objective of the business is to satisfy your customers by ensuring a process exists to achieve the following:

  1. Identifying customer requirements;
  2. Meeting customer requirements;
  3. Enhancing customer satisfaction.

When auditing customer focus, you should assess whether customer satisfaction is adequately determined and whether appropriate corrective action is undertaken when things go wrong.

The customer feedback process should be audited as a process in its own right and not just as a clause in the standard. Determine how this process is planned, implemented and improved as these factors will affect the processes’ ability to provide meaningful information about the effectiveness of the management system.

Top management must also ensure that customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements are identified and consistently met and that the focus on enhancing customer satisfaction is maintained.

Top management must also determine and address the risks and opportunities that can affect conformity of products and services and the organization’s ability to enhance customer satisfaction.

You should seek and record evidence that Top management is taking a ‘hands-on’ approach to the management of the management system, be prepared to constructively challenge Top management’s commitment.

Top management's commitment can likely be demonstrated by their actions, and by their views on the what the EHQMS policies mean to the everyday activties of your organization, as well as policies relationship with organization's strategic direction.

  1. Are Top management attending management review meetings?
  2. Do they support the QMS Manager during day-to-day activities and with improvement initiatives?
  3. Do they lead the way and take accountability for the effectiveness of the QMS?
  4. Have they ensured that responsibilities and authorities for relevant roles are assigned and understood?
  5. Have they ensured that responsibilities and authorities are communicated?
  6. Have they established, implemented and maintained policies and objectives?

More information on PDCA


4.1 Understanding Context 4.2 Interested Parties 4.3 Determining Scope
4.4 Management System Processes  
5.1 Leadership and Commitment 5.2 Policies 5.3 Roles, Responsibility and Authority
6.1 Address Risk and Opportunity 6.2 System Objectives and Planning 6.3 Planning for Change


7.1 Resources 7.2 Competence 7.3 Awareness
7.4 Communication 7.5 Documented Information
8.1 Operational Planning and Control 8.2 Requirements for Products and Services 8.3 Design & Development
8.4 Externally Provided Products and Services 8.5 Product and Service Provision 8.6 Release of Products and Services
8.7 Non-conforming Outputs 8.8 Emergency Preparedness 8.9 Accident and Incident Investigation


9.1 Monitor, Measure, Analyse and Evaluate 9.2 Internal Audit 9.3 Management Review


10.1 Improvement - General 10.2 Non-Conformity and Corrective Action 10.3 Continual Improvement

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