With it becoming increasingly important for our clients, and a key requirement for public sector tenders, back in November 2019 Clarity decided to seek ISO 9001 accreditation.
ISO 9001 is defined as the international standard that specifies requirements for a Quality Management System (QMS). Organisations use the standard to demonstrate their ability to consistently provide high quality products and services that meet customer and stakeholder needs within statutory and regulatory requirements.
What initially started as a process mapping exercise very quickly transformed the way we run and deliver our business – from onboarding our team and reference checking and inducting our associates, to initiating projects of work and drafting client reports. We wanted to ensure a consistent standard was delivered across the board, and that only the highest quality of content and services are produced moving forward. This approach has now been captured and documented in the Clarity Quality Manual.
We have defined our approach to Quality in three essential and interlinked elements:
- Providing a quality service to our clients that meets their expectations.
- Continuous improvement of company processes and procedures, evolving as we grow, with an aim to manage the operations in an efficient and effective way.
- Prompt identification and resolution of any problems, so that client and staff satisfaction is maintained.
Our QMS aims to ensure these aspects of quality are planned for and managed in a formal and systematic way, so as to add real value to the business and provide a platform for continuous improvement.
The drafting of our QMS procedures started with conducting complex interviews with those team members most heavily involved in current working practices, in order to decipher what was already in place and how it could subsequently be improved. Research into best practice was then carried out to further refine and improve our approach. This included the implementation of new templates and working documents, such as the use of a Project Overview Document (POD) when considering new opportunities, and a Risks & Opportunities Log for internal development. These procedures bring structure to our QMS and are followed closely by the Clarity team to ensure a consistent, high quality approach.
As part of the initial accreditation process, we conducted an internal audit against the ISO 9001:2015 standard to assess conformity, evaluate effectiveness, and identify opportunities for QMS improvement. Our designated Internal Auditor conducted interviews with all members of the Clarity Team, primarily to test procedure and policies are being adhered to and (where necessary) to ensure adjustments are made, reflecting the way we work and guaranteeing continuous improvement.
Within Clarity, we have challenged ourselves to demonstrate we are delivering best practice—and if not, we are committed to considering the reasons why and instilling change. We are delighted to announce that, after adjusting our QMS following the audit findings, we went on to pass our Stage 2 assessment with flying colours and have now officially received our ISO 9001 accreditation.