The Importance of Document Control

March 9, 2021

Ensuring the right documents at the right time, used by the right people, for the right reason.

Safeguarding our health, our environment and our economy requires standards - and people committed to upholding them. IANZ accredits companies to global standards of competence set by the International Organisation for Standards. Organisations seeking accreditation by IANZ will need to document their technical and quality systems in a manual, meeting the requirements of the relevant standards for their type of activity. This includes all specialist and administrative policies and procedures, conformity assessment methods, equipment management procedures, worksheets and forms. This documentation, therefore, must accurately reflect all aspects of the organisation, which requires robust document control systems to be implemented.

A document control system supports the management of files in compliance with regulations and internal quality management systems and review of these practices forms an important basis of every IANZ assessment. Our accreditation assessors look at how documents are stored and accessed, the transparency of information provided, the collaboration of document/s between departments and sectors and how changes and improvements are made within time. But why is document control important?

Document control practices are an essential preventative measure for each organisation to ensure only approved, current documentation is used throughout the organisation, preventing inadvertent use of obsolete processes or procedures. There must be clear navigation, hierarchy and structure to documentation within an organistation, assisting users in finding the information they need, when they need it. They must be legible and readily identifiable, with terminology used throughout that users can understand and adhere to.

So how can you measure the performance of your document control procedures? First and foremost should be user satisfaction. Periodically surveying employees regarding the usability of your documentation can assist in identifying where improvements to format, accessibility and other areas of compliance can be made, and that it meets your relevant standard of accreditation!

Whether hard or soft copy, an organisation’s quality management system and document control processes should be living, breathing entities. Constantly reviewing, revising and reviewing again should form a robust part of any accreditation programme. What does your quality management system say about you?

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