TC 176 Orders Design Specification for ISO 9001 Early Revision – But is it Needed?

ISO standards, by ISO’s procedures, go through a review every five years for the purpose of ensuring that all content is still relevant, and that technology has not caused the standard to become obsolete.  This is very critical for technical standards, but less so for management standards, which are typically codifying management best practices that have been, in most cases, accepted without change for several decades, leaving most management system standards to be confirmed ‘as-is’ by member nations without the request for revision.

The last review for ISO 9001 took place in 2020, five years after the release of the 2015 revision of the standard.  The results of the vote were documented in the TC 176 document N1550 and indicated that the member nations had by majority vote decided to confirm ISO 9001:2015 as-is.

On May 3rd of this year, ISO/TC 176 announced through a press release that their Strategic Planning and Operations Task Group (SPOTG) had directed TG5, a task group of SPOTG that had apparently first convened for the purpose of updating ISO 9001 prior to the 2020 vote, to develop a Design Specification for a future revision of ISO 9001 following a review of a report provided by TG5 containing evidence of the need to revise the standard.  You can read the full press release HERE.

Of note, the press release states: “The TG5 report (see document SC2/N 1585) indicated that there was no single major driver for an early revision; however, the volume of elements, when taken together, suggests the need for one.”

The move is not without controversy as the direction comes in the face of more than one vote from member nations that spurred the decision to confirm the standard as-is, as we’ve reported on in a previous post about one year ago and again last November as TC 176 member Mike McLean stumbles to clarify what the proposed changes might be or why they are warranted given the results of voting.  You can also read a very detailed report from Christopher Paris from Oxebridge Quality Resources on the matter HERE

The press release does state that the Design Specification does not indicate that a revision will happen, but it is paving the way for an early revision, as the vote to confirm would mean that we would likely not see a published revision of the flagship standard until 2030. 

It is expected that it will take TG5 six months to complete their draft Design Specification, which will then be circulated to SC2 members for review and comment, to then be revised by TG5 prior to being subjected to SC2 ballet for consideration of adoption. 

We will follow the topic with great interest and continue to report.