What is a Management System

A Management System is a set of documentation that is designed to meet a specific set of criteria (e.g. an ISO Standard).

Typically, there are four types of documentation in a Management System which are:

  • Policies,
  • Procedures,
  • Forms, and
  • Registers


Policies are developed to outline the organisations commitment to a specific issue discipline (e.g. quality, safety, and environment) and generally include an endorsement from the most senior manager in the organisations. Policies allow for objectives, targets, and management plans to be established with the aim of meeting the commitment that has been outlined.


Procedures outline that process that an organisations has adopted to address a specific part of the standard or business operations. In a Management System procedures are usually split between being system procedures or operational procedures.

System procedures cover a specific process required by the standard such as Internal Auditing whilst Operational Procedures focus on a process which is specific to the business such as the process for tendering or answering the main office telephone.

Management System standards such as ISO 9001 (Quality) , ISO 14001 (Environment), and AS 4801 (Safety) in most cases don’t require Operational Processes to be documented although it is recommended that these processes be documented over the first year of implementation to assist staff in the business with understanding how to complete specific business processes.


Forms are used to capture key information required by the System or Operational procedures. Examples of forms include but are not limited to:

  • Quote Checklist
  • Contractor Review Form
  • Action Request Form
  • Staff Induction Form


Registers are used as a tool to provide an overview of a specific area of the System or Operational Procedure. Examples of registers include but are not limited to:

  • Training & Competency Register
  • Job Tracking Register
  • Calibration Register
  • Electrical Equipment Register
  • Action Register