ISO 9001 is a quality management compliance accreditation that is honoured in more than 170 countries. Giving organisations the tools that they need to operate professionally and efficiently, ISO 9001 can be adopted by companies of all sizes and from any sector.

With ISO compliance implementation becoming more important, we have experienced an influx of people asking if ISO 9001 is a legal requirement. Continue reading to find out.

Does ISO 9001 Have any Legal Impacts?

ISO 9001 is NOT a legal requirement. However, it is a highly recognised accreditation that has the power to impact other legal aspects of a business. The quality management principles outlined by ISO 9001 are popular due to their global notoriety and far-reaching business benefits. While it is adopted by choice, the various advantages on offer and impacts it leaves mean for many, it is seen as essential.

Whilst ISO is not legally required, it has the power to support legal responsibilities within certain business areas. As with all forms of ISO accreditations, ongoing auditing is required. This means that a constant stream of evidence is on hand should any issues arise. These include the following:

  • Customer Satisfaction – Customers are protected by consumer rights in many countries. The UK Consumer Rights Act 2015 outlines the various contact terms companies across Britain must adhere to. Elements such as faulty products, fulfilment of contracts, and quality of digital services can all be supported by ISO 9001.

ISO 9001 will not overrule the customer rights act but offer various information and documentation to support legal disputes. For example, if a business is said to have provided a faulty product, it may be able to overturn the decision if it can prove that quality standards were met.

  • HR and Employee Experience – UK companies face, on average, £8,500 worth of legal fees due to unhappy employees. The various employment laws mean that aspects should as working conditions, training, and reasonably contracted working tasks sometimes end up in legal cases for organisations to face.

In this circumstance, ISO 9001 assures that employee training has occurred regarding the workload being carried out. The strict processes outlined, and audit trail mean companies can prove their compliance with various employee management measures.

  • Industry Regulations Adherence – Specific industry standards can sometimes end in fines if their outlined requirements are not being met.

As ISO 9001 is suitable for all companies, the configuration phase of processes and ongoing updates can be done with industry compliance in mind. This ensures evidence is always in place to showcase efficient working processes and adherence to specific measures.

An example would be the measures the Care Quality Commission set out for healthcare organisations. As independent regulators, they are responsible for assessing elements such as the suitability of the environment, the level of care on offer, and the ability to meet patient requirements. ISO 9001, focusing on customer satisfaction, aligns with these values perfectly. Not only does it ensure a full database of feedback is maintained, but it also proves how processes are being aligned with.

Also, being legally tied to this professional standard means the documentation has weight to do, thanks to the stamp of excellence.

Which Companies Benefit from ISO 9001?

Which Companies Benefit from ISO 9001?

When considering the legal support that ISO 9001 offers, it is essential to consider how the standard can benefit certain sectors. Whether a company chooses to join to improve efficiency or allow for audit trails that help in certain legal situations, the benefits are plentiful.

As the general rule stands, ISO 9001 is not a legal requirement for any of these industries, but it is likely highly recommended.

These industries include the following:

  • Manufacturing (Including Construction, Engineering and Factory Production)
  • IT and Digital Services
  • Hospitality
  • Healthcare

Despite these sectors being ideal candidates for the accreditation, the beauty of ISO 9001 is that it brings many benefits to any business that it is adopted by.

What Business Operations Does ISO 9001 Benefit?

What Business Operations Does ISO 9001 Benefit?

ISO 9001 is an effective tool in managing risk. Aside from the support that it offers in different legal situations, or in being industry regulation compliant, there are many other benefits.

Decision Making and Leadership

With the implementation of processes comes with it the ease of decision-making. ISO 9001 is commonly adopted to streamline management and spending. It ensures that decisions are primarily fact-based, with a stream of audits and reporting that can be used to make decisions.

Leadership also relates to the management of ISO 9001 policies and objectives. This provides a benefit as it structures leaders’ tasks and makes their jobs much easier. Improvements in communication and productivity are experienced as direct benefits.

Customer Experience and Sales

ISO 9001 relies on customer feedback and is designed to improve the experiences that are had. Implementing controls that ensure optimal quality in all company areas enhances customer experience.

The customer information obtained as part of the auditing can be used to tailor and improve services. By improving what is on offer and instilling confidence in a brand due to its alignment with ISO, competitiveness is also enhanced.

In this sense, ISO 9001 provides commercial resilience for companies in all sectors.

Process Management and Scaling

ISO 9001 also makes scaling a business easier. Once the measures are configured and accredited, a company can change their operations whilst remaining compliant.

The focus on internal auditing also means that any new processes or business needs can be easily integrated into a business in a way that will result in optimal quality performance.

When is ISO 9001 a Requirement?

In the same way that we get asked if Cyber Essentials is mandatory in the UK, we often face the same questions about ISO 9001.

You will commonly find that certain tenders, such as high security and public sector ones, will ask for companies to be ISO 9001 compliant. This is not a legal requirement but does mean that without the certificate, you will not be awarded the contract. This will be a common occurrence for businesses looking to align with an organisation that emphasises quality management and customer experience.

ISO 9001 may also be required when companies are looking to merge with another business or undergoing a company sale. A transparent view of operations can be obtained if a business already has ISO 9001 quality management implemented. It is also simple to align with other processes and easily bring more people into the teams.

Lastly, you will find that most international tenders look for this accreditation. Standards can fluctuate between countries, but ISO is a solid organisation with a global presence. If you want to be taken seriously in new markets, a great way to do this is by showcasing your adherence to ISO 9001.

What are the Steps for Achieving ISO 9001?

At Creative Networks, our position as an accredited ISO 9001 company and experience in helping many other companies mean we have perfected the art of preparing for and passing the accreditation.

If ISO 9001 is right for you, the first step is to configure your business. This involves looking at top-level strategy, understanding how each team works, and implementing the review processes needed. As is the case for ISO 27001 and ISO 22301, the easiest way to achieve this is by working with a professional IT agency.

Our ISO 9001 quality management service considers all the above with a hands-on approach. Once your company is prepared, they must apply for the standard. This involves undertaking a detailed application and auditing process to prove compliance and process management.

When you successfully award the standard, you will need to demonstrate an ongoing adherence to the elements. Without this, you risk losing your accreditation and receiving negative attention for doing so.

To learn more, contact us today or read more about our ISO 9001 service here.

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