• Phil Potter

Effective and Appropriate Document Control

We’re continuously getting feed-back from auditors, saying that companies are over documenting or under documenting their systems, and that their documentation is inappropriate for the organisation.


In this session, I’m going to go through 5 key points to help you have effective and adequate document control.


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1. Determine what's required


You need to determine what’s your required documentation and use a risk-based approach.


If you’ve got simple processes, maybe a photograph and some documentation under that, some explanation would suffice.


If you’re a more complicated process, then you may need a lot more documentation, but it should be based on the risk involved in the activities.



2. The difference between Policy, Procedures, Forms and Records

  1. A policy is the intent for your company.

  2. Procedures are the ‘how to’ do an activity within your organisation.

  3. Forms are what you complete or fill out to show that you have done activities or as part of the processes and once that forms completed it becomes a

  4. Record – an example can be we all have a quality policy. We’ll have a series of procedure to support that quality policy and then there’ll be forms and they become records in your system.


3. Who will approve the documents?

Who are we going to get to approve the documentation?

Does everything have to go to the managing director to sign-off or are there sensible levels of who approves and owns the document?


The other thing you need to look at, is how often you will review your documentation.


Does it mean that you’re going to review and reissue every year?

That is a waste of time, if it’s reviewed it should be listed down as being reviewed and signed off , that way you only have a reissue of the document if things have changed or if there is a change in process.


4. Distribution


Where is the documentation going to be?


Do we have to have it in everybody’s cupboard or are there folders that have been printed out?


If you have an environmental system, you’re not going to want to have copious amounts of copies of procedures, so, once again risk based or can we think a little bit laterally and who’s to say a procedure can’t be a power point slide.


5. Communicate

Make sure you communicate policies, procedures, forms and records that staff need to be aware of.