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What is an 'Interested Party?'

May 5, 2018

In all three new ISO management systems, 9001 Quality, 14001 Environmental and 45001 OHAS, in Clause 4.3 – Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties, it states

“The organisation shall determine:

a. the interested parties that are relevant to the relevant management system;

b. the relevant needs and expectations (i.e. requirements) of these interested parties;

c. which of these needs and expectations become its compliance obligations."

 

Many times, when we are implementing an ISO management system, and this is one of the first tables that the Executive Management Team (EMT) has to address, we seemingly need to almost tease the information out of the EMT.

 

Surprisingly, some SME’s have never looked at this as part of their business review, and don’t know what an Interested Party is. So, what is an Interested Party?

 

The Definition of an Interested Party.

 

Well, it’s the same as a ‘Stakeholder’, which is;

‘A person, group or organisation that has interest or concern in a business or organisation.’

 

Stakeholders can affect or be affected by the organisation’s actions, objectives and policies. Some examples of key stakeholders are customers, banks, directors, employees, government (and its agencies), owners (shareholders), suppliers, and the community from which the business draws its resources (suppliers).

 

In layman terms, it is ‘anyone, or entity that can affect your business’s outputs or has requirements that have to be met by your business.’

 

                                         Figure 1 - Internal and External Stakeholders

 

Stakeholders can have a direct influence on your business or an indirect influence. For example, the supplier who supplies your supplier fails to deliver on time. This can have a knock-on effect to your business. Therefore, when looking at your stakeholders think beyond the first tier of stakeholders.

 

                                                    Figure 2 - Stakeholder Tiers

 

But why has ISO placed emphasis on this matter?

 

It’s quite relative really. Think about it for a moment. When you began looking at starting your business you must have done some research, the potential market, the competitors, what regulations you had to comply with etc. Within each of these are your stakeholders!

 

The new ISO standards drive you to identify them, so you can carry out risk assessments on each one, and produce a stakeholders table that list the stakeholder, their requirement or influence, together with what you are going to do to manage that risk and who will be responsible for it.

 

It helps you focus on the question ‘what if?’ It drives the culture of proactive actions, so you are always in control and no nasty surprises can be sprung on you, and that you remain compliant with both statutory and regulatory requirements. 

 

To learn more about Interested Parties (Stakeholders), Risk Management or information on ISO implementation email: info@csa-consultants.me or visit our website: www.csa-consultants.me

 

 

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