ISO 9001 Quality Policy

Audit, audit by exception


ISO 9001:2008 clause 5.3 regarding quality policy requires that it should include commitment to continually improve the effectiveness of quality management system. Our Registrar is saying that for compliance these same words should be included in the quality policy. Our opinion is that our policy includes commitment to continually improve the standard of services to that client which in real terms is how the effectiveness of QMS would be measured. We feel that copying words from the standard will not add any value. Any suggestions on how we should respond to the Registrar.


Good Morning,

I read your question and can understand why you might be somewhat confused. Please notice that the words in the standard say that you are to “continually improve the effectiveness of the quality management system.” I’m sure that your quality management system (QMS) covers all parts of your organization, not just your ‘standard of service.’ The intent of the standard is not to insist that your quality policy is copied word-for-word from the standard itself. Nonetheless, the word “shall” at the beginning of 5.3 indicates a requirement. You are required to include those main points in your policy, which will help your entire organization remain compliant.

Consider this-it is common practice that companies generate their Corporate Quality Policy first. Everything after that, the procedures, the work instructions, etc. fall in line under the main points delivered in that policy (5.3c “provides a framework for establishing and reviewing quality objectives”). If your organization’s quality policy only suggests improving your ‘standard of service’, then is the rest of your QMS to be left on its own as “good enough”? That question is just to make a point. I hope you see the point I’m making. Your registrar can be a valuable member of your team. You would be wise to consider what that particular team mate has to contribute.

Thank you very much for sending your good question to Ask The Experts.

Bud Salsbury, CQT, CQI

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