ISO 9001: Roles, Responsibilities And Authorities

In this series of blog posts, I will be taking a look at the main sections of ISO 9001, what they are, why they are important ...

This 101 is looking at Section 5.3 about organisational roles, responsibilities, and authorities. Why is this important to my business? Well, we care because without defining them, things can get a bit messy.

If you do not define who does what, who is responsible and who has authority then no one in your company knows what they can and can't do!

For instance, as the business owner, you most likely can buy that £100k of new equipment as you have the authority to do so, but you may not want your production manager to have authority to spend £100k.

On the other hand, you may be happy delegating authority to your office manager to buy as much stationery as needed, whilst retaining the overall responsibility for the process.

The other key point here is that defining roles, responsibilities, and authorities stops 'sloping shoulder syndrome'. This is where everyone states it isn't their responsibility to get that task done and therefore it doesn't get done. This is where things ' slip through the cracks' as no one takes ownership of things and customers become dissatisfied.

"How do we define roles, responsibilities, and authorities?

Generally, you can outline them in job descriptions, work instructions, organisation charts, and procedures. I like to link the job description to the competency's matrix for completeness.

The ISO 9001:2015 standard has a list of responsibilities and authorities that need to be assigned. This includes specific quality management roles like internal auditors, who report to top management on the QMS and who maintain the QMS integrity as changes are undertaken.

Many of the companies I have worked with have found it useful to have an independent HR person to work with the leadership team to help understand how to create a comprehensive suite of roles, responsibilities, and authorities.


If you would like to know more about anything I've mentioned in this blog post, do give me a call on 01858 414226 or leave a comment below and let's see how I can help you.