Help or hinder: How useful is a manual when implementing a management system?

We are approaching the much-anticipated release of our ISO 9001:2015 QMS Documentation Toolkit and ISO 14001:2015 EMS Documentation Toolkit, and while our development is nearing completion we are stuck as to whether to include a… manual.

Traditionally, we wouldn’t hesitate at the thought of developing a manual for either, but under the new framework and structure of Annex SL, the latest versions of ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 do not require one.

What do we do?

Our ISO 27001:2013 ISMS Documentation Toolkit does have one, largely because it is a much larger and different Standard – detailing all of the requirements in line with Annex SL and the use of ISO 27001:2013 Annex A controls when managing risks.

Due to the nature of an ISO 27001 ISMS and the large amount of documentation required – and based on years of feedback from our ISMS Documentation Toolkit customers – including an information security manual has proved to benefit the entire ISMS project by:

  • Identifying the necessary steps to kick-start the ISMS
  • Directing the ISMS project
  • An overview of the whole ISMS – a central reference on ‘how you deal with everything’

We can’t decide what to do for our ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 documentation toolkits:

Quality manual – Yes / No?

Environmental manual – Yes / No?

What do you think – manual or no manual? Let us know in the comments section below.