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Time to Review your Policies?

Posted on November 13th, 2014

Which documents should be reviewed regularly? Are there any that don't need it? How can you manage periodic reviews for important documents with QSToolbox?

Ideally, all of the documents in your management system would be used every day, and the need for change would be noticed and made immediately. In this world, you would never need to schedule the review of a document.

While it may be true for Forms and Work Instructions in active use, it’s much less likely to be the case for Policies and Procedures.

One approach is to set a review date for each and every document in your management system, based on the date it was last updated or reviewed. However, this can quickly become a bit of a nightmare, with documents coming up for review in a piecemeal fashion every day.

It’s more efficient to review a whole bunch of procedures together at the same time.

You can take a process-based approach and review all of the documents connected to a particular process at one time. This might make sense to do as part of your internal audit for that process area.

You can also schedule reviews by document type on a specific date, e.g., review all external documents on March 10th. In the case of policies, it would make sense to include it as part of your management review process, since both are a top management responsibility and reviewing your Quality Policy is already a required part of Management Review in the ISO 9001 standard.

Whichever approach you use (or a combination of both), you will need to make sure that you cover all of the documents in your management system. Your Document Register will be the place to check this.

It is OK to set different review periods for different documents. Our expert recommends that Policies and Procedures be reviewed each year, while Safety Data Sheets can stretch out to every 2-3 years. Forms may not need a set review date if they are in constant use.

In QSToolbox

Review of your Quality Policy is already part of the built-in Management Review Meeting agenda in QSToolbox. You can easily expand this to include other policies. To get a list, simply go to the Document module and set the search options to give you all “Polices”.

There’s also a report included in QSToolbox that lets you list documents by Revision Date (Documents > Reports). You can search for all documents that have a revision date between two dates, or perhaps all procedures that have not been reviewed since Dec 31, 2013:

You can also limit the results by owner. e.g. only list “my” procedures that have not been reviewed since Dec 31.

Combine these reports with dates for review set in the calendar and you have a way to manage your Document Review needs.