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Monday, 15 April 2019

ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Standard

This standard is probably the best know standard in the world, it is recognised in its full title in the UK as BS EN ISO 9001:2015.  We have covered this subject before but it is well worth doing it again.

  • BS means it is an adopted British Standard
  • EN means that it is adopted by Europe
  • ISO means that it is adopted internationally

There are over 6 million certifications worldwide and ISO 9001 has long been seen as an entry qualification to tenders and bids.

The Standard is really good business practice and companies holding this qualification have risks and opportunities at the heart of their companies.  This coupled with continual improvement makes both commercial as well as financial sense.

There are 10 sections to the standard and these cover all elements of a company except finance. Finance requirements are different throughout the world and trying to set a common standard would have been difficult.

The 10 sections are:

  1. Scope
  2. Normative references
  3. Terms and definitions
  4. Context of the organisation
  5. Leadership
  6. Planning
  7. Support
  8. Operation
  9. Performance evaluation
  10. Improvement

Once properly set up, the system in the UK is assessed by a UKAS Accredited Certification Body and a Certificate is issued to demonstrate compliance to this Standard. (Other countries have specific Accreditation Bodies).

This independent certification shows that the company is fully compliant with ISO 9001:2015 and can be accepted without the need to carry out  additional supplier audits.

Monday, 1 April 2019

Quality Matters Blogs

Just recently we received an email from the founder of Feedspot, Anuj Agarwal, to say that their panellist had selected our blogs to be in the top twenty of quality management blogs on the web.  We were awarded this in recognition:

Feedspot Award for Top 20 in Quality Management

Readers of our blogs will know that we cover a wide range of subjects in the quality, environment and security areas and it is pleasing to see that these are read as far away as India.

Anuj asked that we acknowledge the award and give him a mention, which we are happy to do.

You can see the info on

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Data Security

Data security and incidents where data systems have been hacked are again in the news.  The damage in reputational terms can be enormous, and in some cases can destroy an organisation; this does not take into account the fines that can be levied by ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office).

Some of the higher profile cases often occur because of computer issues such as poor anti-malware and anti-virus systems, poor software patching or simply human errors because of a lack of training and awareness.

There are a number of ways that organisations can improve their data security:

  1. Incorporate cyber essentials or cyber essentials plus which adjusts computer systems to protect against improper access. It also provides encryption of hard disks to make it harder to read data files.

    This is commonly known as computer hardening.
  2. Incorporate a management system for data security; Commonly ISO 27001 & 27002   ISO 27001: 2013 is the certifiable Standard and 27001:2013 is the code of practice covering the standard
These management systems put systems in place to enhance security in a number of areas:

  1. Management direction for information security;
  2. Organisation of information security;
  3. Human resources security;
  4. Asset management;
  5. Access control;
  6. Cryptography;
  7. Physical & environmental security
  8. Operations security;
  9. Communications security;
  10. System acquisition, development and maintenance;
  11. Supplier relationships;
  12. Information security incident management;
  13. Information security aspects of business continuity management;
  14. Compliance.
This Standard is not easy to put into place and it is a somewhat lengthy process, but once fully practice it does give a degree of comfort to the management of the organisation that good professional; data security protection has been put into place.

Naturally the organisation must undertake regular internal audits and the system is assessed and surveillance visits carried out by an accredited certification body to ensure continued compliance with the Standard.

We have been helping organisation set up ISO 27001 systems and then make sure they pass assessment, and at the first go.

Once certified Quality Matters can offer internal audits and consultancy to make sure that the certification remains fully valid and the surveillance visits pass without problem.

Please see our web-site for details.

Monday, 4 March 2019

ISO 14001:2015 and the EU

The recent turbulent weather patterns across the world ranging from the coldest day in north America to the hottest day in Australia, there can be no doubt that the climate warming effect is having a major impact on our planet.

While most countries have acknowledged that carbon emissions are a primary cause of climate change there are a few that are “deniers” and put short term gains against long term damage.

The UK is among the leaders in carbon reduction and it is planned that by 2030 we will be zero or close to carbon neutral.

Many organisations have incorporated ISO 14001 as part of their carbon calculator and, of course as a management tool and a marketing advantage.

What organisations do not realise is that the 2015 standard can be self-determined and self-certificated rather than following the External Certification Route with a UKAS Accredited Certification Body; this is available for low risk organisations only.  These tend to be office based and others with a low significant aspect count.

We started this blog with the title ISO 14001:2015 and the EU and as there is so much emphasis on BREXIT at the moment, we are being asked what effect will a hard or soft BREXIT have on this European Standard?  The entire title of the Environmental Standard is

BS EN ISO 14001:2015.

BS - means that it is an adopted British Standard
EN - means it is an adopted European Standard
ISO – means it is an adopted International Standard.

Fortunately, there will be no impact on ISO 14001 on the UK post BREXIT.

There will be some areas where European directives which have not been transposed into ULK Law may impact on our compliance with these directives. 

We are assured by HM Government that matters are in hand to advise us of the situation post BREXIT whether it be hard or soft. 

We will have to wait and see

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