The ISO 9001 Standard was designed and prepared by the International Standardisation Organisation (ISO www.iso.org), a network of national standards institutes of 164 countries, comprising non-government and governmental delegation. It is the body entrusted with fostering the development of international manufacturing (both for products and services), trade and industrial communication standards. Its main function is to search for the security and product standardisation for (public or private) companies or organisations internationally.
This standard specifies the requirements to set up a Quality Management System (QMS), that can be used for its international application by any organisation, regardless of whether the product or service is provided by a private company or public organisation, and irrespective of its size. The ultimate goal of the OMS is to coherently provide products or services that meet the requirements of the client and the applicable regulatory requirements.
Implementing a Quality Management System seeks to create a series of coordinated activities in an Organisation, based on updated and written documentation, that enable a standardisation of the action taken by the different officers involved in the processes, in order to achieve uniformity in the quality of the products or services offered to the customer.
The ISO 9001 standard stresses the importance of focusing on processes as work methodology, by segmenting and separately documenting different activities within a single organisation. Many advantages were thus achieved with respect to the traditional work organisation methods, such as better use of the human and material resources of the organisation, ongoing improvement and obtaining predictable and foreseeable results, generating confidence among the recipients of the services and facilitating control of the results.
In turn, this system is based on the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) continuous improvement, in order to ensure a constant flow of activities that tend to have a continuous impact on improving the service, and finally the quality that it offers.
The certification that the Ertzaintza works according to the ISO 9001 standard was carried out by AENOR www.aenor.es, a member of the International Standardisation organisation. This entity is entrusted in performing an audit of the candidate organisation for ISO 9001 quality certification, where it checks whether that organisation has satisfactorily implemented the requirements specified in the standard and works according to them.
The certification, once obtained, must be periodically renewed. In the case of the Ertzaintza, a renewal audit is conducted every three years, or on a one-off basis, in the case of changes to the scope of the System, together with annual monitoring audits. All these audits are conducted by AENOR staff.
The current version of the ISO 9001 standard dates from November 2008. It is therefore referred to as ISO 9001:2008 and is structured into 8 chapters:
- Chapters 1 to 3: Guidelines and general descriptions.
- Chapter 4. Management system: it contains the general requirements and the requirements for documentation management.
- Chapter 5. Management responsibilities: it contains the requirements that the organisation management must meet, such as defining the Quality Policy, ensuring that the responsibilities and authorities are defined, approving targets, management commitment to quality, etc.
- Chapter 6. Resources management: the Standard establishes 3 types of resources to be used: HR, infrastructure and work environment. The requirements for their management are contained here.
- Chapter 7. Producing the service or product: the purely production requirements, from customer support to delivering the product or service, are contained here.
- Chapter 8. Measuring, analysis and improvement: the requirements for the processes that gather information, analyse it and take the relevant acts are set out here. The aim is to continuously improve the capacity of the organisation to supply products and services that meet the requirements. The objective set out in the Standards is for the organisation to tirelessly search for customer satisfaction by means of complying with the requirements.