Historically, it was a requirement of the ISO standards to have a ‘manual’ to document the contents of your management system. However, this requirement was removed as part of the most recent revisions and updates. Instead, the standard now refers to you having an ‘Overview Document’, which is similar but less strict in its requirements. Never the less, the Overview Document very much has a place in your Management System.
What is an Overview Document?
You may still choose to call this document a manual, or you may adopt the new ‘Overview Document’ term. You can even pick another name like ‘handbook’ or ‘guidelines’; we simply suggest using something which will mean the most to your business and your employees. Whatever you choose to call it, this document provides a wealth of information.
We will create a first draft of this document when you are first certificated with us. During your initial assessment, the assessor will collate the information required about your business. Your account manager will then put the Overview Document together and send to you ready for your Presentation.
You Overview Document should then become a really useful training tool for whoever is responsible for looking after your ISO Certification as well as your employees. This is because it contains everything your organisation needs to know about your management system and how you are compliant to your chosen standard. It should also include your goals, expectations, policies and requirements to maintain compliance to your chosen standard.
We know in some cases, the Overview Document is often created and then never looked at again. However, we cannot stress enough the range of benefits to you, your employees, auditors and customers.
What can it be used for?
If constructed as a concise signpost document which is kept up to date it:
What can be included?
Whilst there are no strict guidelines on what needs to be included, we suggest the following as a minimum:
Need help getting your Overview Document up to date?
In order to fully benefit from this document, it is vital you regularly review it to ensure it remains relevant and up to date.
If you require support in getting your Overview Document up to date or have any questions, please contact your account manager who will be more than happy to help.
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