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ICP's ongoing journey to innovation

Published: 28 Nov 2022

The team from the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs & Port Security in the UAE – named as one of two Quality Organisation of the Year winners at this year’s International Quality Awards, – was also a finalist for the Digital Innovation Award, for its work on a smart app that provides more than 100 identity, citizenship and residency services. Here, we take a closer look at its innovative entry.

Course code
PT220
Course code
Duration

Minimum of 14 hours

Category Auditing
Level Practitioner
Scheme(s)
Information security

ISO/IEC 27001:2022 Internal Auditor (Information Security Management Systems)

This course aims to provide learners with the knowledge and skills required to perform an internal audit of part of an information security management system based on ISO/IEC 27001 (or equivalent) and report on the effective implementation and maintenance of the management system in accordance with ISO 19011. 

Do you know an accidental quality manager?

Published:

Sandy Domingos-Shipley CQP MCQI, ISO Certified Auditor and Managing Director at The Systems Link, discusses the importance of supporting quality managers, and the positive benefits this can have for organisations.

Author: Sandy Domingos-Shipley CQP MCQI, ISO Certified Auditor and Managing Director at The Systems Link
  • Management systems
  • “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a question I’m sure most children are asked at some point. Among the answers of teacher, doctor, popstar, builder and astronaut, I doubt many of them are harbouring ambitions of a job in the quality profession. 

    Of course, as we grow up, we realise that there are far more professions out there than we ever learn about at school, with a role in quality being just one of them. However, that doesn’t mean that every quality professional deliberately chose that role. In fact, many of them fall into the role almost by accident. 

    Maybe the previous quality manager retired or moved on from the company, and the position was offered as a promotion. Perhaps the role was inherited as part of a restructure. Or maybe the new quality manager put themselves forward for the role, viewing it as a development opportunity.  

    These ‘accidental quality managers’ aren’t uncommon. In fact, as more and more businesses make quality a priority, they are growing in number and will likely continue to do so.  

    The common problems faced by accidental managers 

    Accidental quality managers aren’t a bad thing. With the right training and support, they can thrive in the role and become huge assets to their organisations.   

    Unfortunately, too many of them don’t get the right support – they are left to sink or swim. Nobody within the company provides training, so they have to figure things out for themselves.  

    If they are lucky, the senior management team will be supportive. They’ll see quality management systems as more than just a means to get ISO 9001 certification and will actively encourage teams to put quality first.  

    However, even with buy-in from senior managers, an inexperienced quality manager will still face plenty of challenges. Their knowledge of what best practice looks like will be limited, and they won’t be familiar with methodologies, tools and systems that could benefit their organisation.  

    The challenges are even greater when senior managers aren’t interested in the quality management system; when they view it as something to be maintained to keep ISO auditors happy, rather than recognising it as a valuable business system.  

    Unfortunately, this attitude is quite common, and not just in companies with accidental quality managers – I’ve seen organisations where even the most qualified quality professionals don’t have any support from their colleagues.  

    My first priority when working with any organisation is getting buy-in from the entire management team. Building a world-class business should never be just one person’s responsibility.  

    Why should we support accidental quality managers?  

    Quality is not limited to big corporations with deep pockets. The higher the number of businesses that are focused on delivering high-quality products and services, the better it is for all of us, professionally and personally.  

    As quality professionals, we should be banging the drum for quality and supporting quality managers however they secure their role and whatever size organisation they work for. 

    If we help inexperienced quality managers succeed, their management teams will feel more positive about investing in quality. They will have the confidence to invest in developing their quality management system, attaining ISO accreditation, and employing or engaging the services of additional quality professionals.    

    How to support accidental quality managers 

    In organisations where quality management has been made one person’s role, this creates a problem when that employee moves on, and the successor is expected to simply pick up where they left off.  

    In cases where the organisation is already working toward ISO certification or is hoping to attain existing accreditation, the quality manager’s role often becomes about maintaining the system rather than improving it.  

    Situations like this can be avoided if organisations stop siloing quality management and make it everybody’s responsibility. That begins by getting everyone engaged in the quality management system and making continuous improvement part of the company culture.  

    This is why I get all my clients to focus on the ISO frameworks rather than the certification. The certificate is simply a piece of paper. The framework – the quality management system – is where the value lies.  

    If the quality management system is only ever seen as a tool to get certified, the organisation will never unlock its many benefits or reap the rewards fully.     

    The first step to supporting accidental quality managers is helping them to know how to build a quality management system that supports the business. After all, a quality manager cannot successfully take charge of a quality management system if they do not fully understand it.  

    [Photo credit: Phil Andrew]

    Learn how the Quality Careers Hub can help you succeed in your career through the perspective of member, Sonia Mills PCQI. 

    How quality can help deliver the UK’s sustainability objectives

    Published:

    For leaders, translating strategic intent into results can be challenging. Take, for example, the UK government’s net zero target: despite political intent, there seems to be little in place to tangibly deliver the crucial objectives. That is why it is important for leaders to recognise the key role management tools, such as systems thinking, can play in delivering results.

    Author: Vince Desmond
    CEO, CQI
  • Management systems
  • Quality assurance
  • Systems thinking can be defined as a holistic approach to analysis that “focuses on the way that a system's constituent parts interrelate and how systems work over time and within the context of larger systems” (Ben Lutkevich). In other words, systems thinking approaches problems and strategy as a whole, rather than looking at problems as individual pieces and trying to understand each part.

    Systems thinking and strategy deployment  

    A good demonstration of systems thinking in practice is the UK Hydrogen Strategy, as it sets out a “whole-systems approach to developing the UK hydrogen economy”. However, political agendas can often interfere with systems thinking. This could be said for the UK Government’s strategy towards transport, for instance. The UK has incentivised the use of electric cars with the low emissions plug-in grant, yet we seem to lack the means to supply the charging infrastructure.   

    The value of systems thinking and strategy deployment should not be underestimated. The UK government has had a number of indicators from recent public inquiries that demonstrate what can happen when systems thinking is absent.  

    • During the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, engineer Dame Judith Hackett took a systems-thinking approach and found the system for managing buildings throughout the life cycle to be inadequate. She recommended a new system to address the problem.  
    • The review into the Nimrod disaster, led by Charles Haddon-Cave QC, found the management of safety risk in the aging aircraft’s system to be inadequate, and recommended a new system for the whole scope of military aircraft.   

    In order to scrutinise policy deployment, the government has what are known as ‘red teams’ – for example, the Climate Change Committee (CCC). In its 2021 report on progress in reducing emissions the CCC states that:

    • “There is a large policy gap: credible policies for delivery currently cover only around 20% of the required reduction in emissions to meet the Sixth Carbon Budget.” 
    • “A significant ambition gap: current government commitments that align to the Committee’s published pathways cover less than half of the emissions reductions to 2035.” 
    • “There are signs of a multi-speed approach within government to raising ambition and putting in place effective policies.” 

    In other words, a lack of systems thinking and good strategy deployment mean we will miss the target. 

    A lack of systems thinking and strategy deployment can lead to the government failing to deliver objectives, such as the UK’s net zero target and other policies that are vital to a sustainable future.

    Vince Desmond

    Of course, there are many others who have been advocating for a more scientific approach to government – Dominic Cummings tried after a period of self-study on systems thinking and strategy deployment. Academia relentlessly do research into this area, and professional bodies with expertise in these areas dutifully respond to consultations. CQI Fellow John Seddon has made it a personal mission to help the government and the public sector to take a scientific approach to public service delivery.  

    A scientific approach 

    I also put forth my own suggestions that I believe would help to deliver government policies. Firstly, these suggestions are directed to members of the House of Commons and House of Lords in the form of ‘on-boarding’ education, that could be completed by every member before any voting process. 

    • Root-cause analysis and problem-solving – our elected representatives have to address complex problems at a variety of levels. Having a structured way to think about problems will get better results.  
    • Systems thinking – having an understanding of systems thinking will help both the House of Commons and the House of Lords in thinking about current problems. Moreover, it will help them to design and think about the implications of new policy intent, and help prevent risk rather than deal with it later.  
    • Strategy deployment – delivering on intent is challenging, and so understanding how strategy can be deployed through complex ecosystems of government departments, local authorities, industry and regulators will help when members of the House of Commons and House of Lords get their first ministerial briefs.

    My final suggestion is for government to include quality management in its list of recognised professions for civil servants. There are already many CQI members doing great work in government, facilitating policy deployment and performance improvement, as well as developing the systems thinking skills with departmental colleagues. Some recognition and leadership for these people would help to demonstrate quality’s vital role.  

    It is clear that a lack of systems thinking and strategy deployment can lead to the government failing to deliver objectives, such as the UK’s net zero target and other policies that are vital to a sustainable future. This demonstrates quality management’s important role in sustainability and its impact in improving, products, people and planet – which is also this year’s theme for the CQI’s World Quality Week, from 8-12 November.

    World Quality Week 2021

    For more information, and everything you need for a successful World Quality Week, take a look at our #WQW21 resources.

    Driving clinical improvement in the NHS through audit management

    Published: 9 Jul 2021

    Improvement, Innovation and Effectiveness Lead Tracey Brailsford at Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust explains how a cloud-based system is helping senior leadership and frontline staff learn from performance and continually improve services for patients. 

    Essentials for a safe on-site audit

    Published: 8 Jun 2021

    Sharjeel Farooq, IRCA Principal Auditor, and Director of Advanced Certifications Pvt Limited in Pakistan, shares his experience and advice on how to hold a safe on-site audit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Engagement of people

    Published: 19 May 2021

    Raffat Khatoon Mohammed, CQP MCQI, ISO 9001, 14001 and 45001 Lead Auditor at Qatar Primary Materials Company (QPMC), explains how ‘engagement of people’ helped QPMC to overcome staff and skill shortages during the Covid-19 pandemic.