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July 1, 2016

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Care home provider discusses move to ISO9001:2015


Woodbay Ltd is a care home provider for elderly residents based in Scotland with two locations, Abbotsford Nursing Home in Ardrossan and Burnlea Nursing Home in Largs, both of which are located in Ayshire. Woodbay has been providing high quality care in the local community since 2002, consistently maintaining high grades with their regulators and the Care Inspectorate. As part of SHP’s focus on Standards, Woodbay discusses the transition to ISO 9001:2015 and offers advice to companies wishing to do the same.

Abbotsford Nursing Home was originally certified for a Quality Management System standard in 1995 through SGS, having recognised the fundamental need for certification. “At that time, with the recent implementation of the Community Care Act, we felt we would benefit from a recognised quality assurance system that involved audit and scrutiny beyond our existing system. We have maintained this approach since then, developing our quality systems in line with the evolving ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems standard,” says Nigel Wanless, Managing Director at Woodbay Ltd.

Due to the nature of a care home’s operations it is essential that high levels of quality and safety are maintained at all times. By cultivating a culture of continuous improvement alongside ISO 9001, Woodbay is committed to ensuring that these needs are met.

“The integration of health and social care in Scotland brings with it new demands on the business of care homes,” says Nigel. “We intend to be fit for the purpose of delivering new models of care to our local community in this landscape of change, and the organisational requirements of ISO 9001:2015 certification will undoubtedly assist us in these new challenges and opportunities.”

What is ISO 9001:2015?

ISO 9001 is the most internationally recognised standard for quality management systems (QMS), representing almost 72% of the total number of certificates issued globally. The standard helps organisations achieve, benchmark and monitor high quality performance across all business operations. It provides a framework to ensure requirements are consistently met, whilst keeping up to date with market developments and enhancing customer satisfaction.

A new version of the standard, ISO 9001:2015 was published in September last year and organisations already certified to the old version, ISO 9001:2008, have until September 2018 to make their transition to the new standard. ISO 9001:2015 positions the new version of the standard as an integral part of an organisation’s efforts towards the broader aim of sustainable development and promotes it as a tool for improving an organisation’s overall performance.

“The quality system is tailored specifically to an organisation’s requirements, ensuring that it works for their business,” says Kate Breslin, Auditor at SGS United Kingdom Ltd. “This enables the organisation to better understand their own context and manage the risks that they encounter in the best possible way.”

Woodbay’s transition to the new Standard

Woodbay already held ISO 9001:2008 certification with SGS and, as such, the company was eligible to undergo a transition to the 2015 version of ISO 9001. The process involved a transition audit that consisted of two stages.

Stage 1 is a preliminary review of the company to evaluate the capability of its quality management system and to confirm whether or not it complies with all of the requirements of ISO 9001:2015. In Stage 2 the auditor interviews Woodbay’s employees and examines their working practices to determine whether or not the company had implemented an effective QMS and, crucially, to confirm whether its methods were compliant with the standard and its own business.

Kate Breslin was responsible for carrying out the transition audit for Woodbay and commended the organisation’s positive attitude towards the process. “Woodbay has always been proactive with monitoring and improving its quality management systems,” she recalls. “Therefore, when it was time to transition, the organisation’s openness and honesty enabled a clear trail of communication to be verified from the top through the whole organisation.”

“The management’s hands-on approach ensured that everyone within the organisation had a good understanding of its context, the interested parties, and the risks to the business,” continues Kate. “Good communication throughout the teams ensured that all employees were able to contribute by involving themselves in the auditing process and speaking to the auditor one-on-one.”

“The transition to ISO 9001:2015 required an understanding of the differences between the old and new standards, mainly the introduction of risk assessment into the system,” continues Nigel. “Thanks to the useful guidance and support from SGS the process of articulating our risk assessment work provided a helpful focus on this activity.”

How certification has helped Woodbay

“Since originally gaining certification in the mid-90s there have been many occasions where we have been required to evidence different areas of our service to external parties, including regulators, HSE and local authority,” Nigel explains. “Our quality management system developed alongside ISO 9001 has helped us demonstrate our capabilities to these parties in both an easy and immediate way.”

“As new regulation emerges, we have always responded using our quality management system as the vehicle to embed any new process and train our staff accordingly. In the 2015 version of ISO 9001 the process of articulating the risk assessment work we do has provided a constructive focus on our current activity,” says Nigel.

“Implementing ISO 9001, along with external scrutiny on a regular basis, provides an important discipline to any business. This is particularly important where people can be a valued asset and help to make a lasting difference to organisational performance.”

Advice to companies considering ISO certification

“Firstly, read the standard documentation,” recommends Kate. “You may find that you are already doing a lot of what is required. It is then up to you to determine how you manage the documented information that enables you to demonstrate your compliance to the requirements.”

“If your organisation already has a quality management system, you do not have to start over; use the processes that are in place that work for you. It is, however, a great opportunity to review and develop the processes that are not working for you, allowing you to make them better suited to ensuring the quality of the service or product being provided.”

“Any organisation interested in implementing ISO 9001:2015 has a responsibility to provide effective learning, development and guidance in this respect,” says Nigel.

“Developing a quality system and becoming certified to ISO 9001:2015 is therefore a worthwhile challenge for any organisation with aspirations of proving its quality.”


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