What to Expect from a Management Review

As an auditor, you need to understand what to expect from a Management Review Meeting. You need to go beyond the checklist, where you are just verifying that they have covered all of the listed inputs and listed all of the required outputs.

How do you do that? How do you ensure that the intent of the meeting was met?

The intent of the management review meeting is to review key performance indicators and other information, and to make a decision as to whether or not the Management System is suitable, adequate and effective. This is the last step of the continual improvement cycle, the “Act” of PLAN-DO-CHECK-ACT. Reviewing the performance of the management system and setting new goals and direction should be the key focus of this meeting.

The first thing that I look for is not just that they reviewed all of the required inputs, but how they reviewed it. Was is it in a lot of detail, or were there discussions on the processes. For example, when they reviewed the status of nonconformities or corrective & preventive actions, did they go through all of the listed nonconformities or did they only discuss the process? The item by item review shouldn’t be done at the management review meeting; that’s what other meetings are for, to deal with the details. The management review should discuss issues such as timeliness of corrective actions taken, repetitiveness of some nonconformities, or a lack of preventive actions identified. The management team should discuss the potential resolutions to any problems, because these are the people with the authority and the resources to ensure that change occurs.

Second, I interview some of the attendees of the management review meeting. Some are lucky enough to have been interviewed for a different reason during the audit, and then I just throw in a couple of additional questions, some just get asked about their management responsibilities and the management review meeting. What do I ask them? I’m not trying to test their memory of the meeting, that wouldn’t be fair, as the meeting may have occurred anytime in the previous 12 months. I like to ask them about the effectiveness of the management system, their role in it, and what have they done to drive continual improvement. 

All management, in fact everyone in an organization, has a role or a function in the continual improvement of the organization. From understanding the policy and supporting a company objective, to setting objectives and improvement targets and supporting them with resources, each member of the team has an important role to play.

2 Responses

  1. Excellent insight into something I’m trying to raise among our auditors.

    You are right that the audit of management reviews turns into a checklist review (and I’ve certainly done that myself) – and it shouldn’t!

    Another way to dig deeper is to ask the managers what are the most important processes in the organization (in this case for environment, but also for QMS or SMS). Not just the main functional process but also the processes that give them the information that they need. Often that is communication within or without the organization, and the complaints/non-conformities and corrective actions taken to correct them.

  2. This is the time for senior management to sit down and take stock of the EMS, QMS, FSMS or OHSAS, it’s direction, its performance, its deliverly and whether it still fully reflects the way the company wants to address its environmental, quality food safety and occupational health and safety issues. One of the common pitfalls are that the minutes of the meetings do not give a clear indication of what happened. This is a particular problem if the Management Representative does not produce a written report for discussion. Actions from the meeting not carried out in a timely fashion.

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