How do sole traders carry out a management review?


When you are the lone wolf in your business, having a meeting with yourself to review your management system may seem like an oddity – but it is an essential part of your ISO maintenance.

What is a management review meeting?

A management review is simply a structured meeting held at a frequency that suits you and your business, provided it takes place at least once a year. When you first created your documented ISO management system, you will have set down a schedule for this. Whatever frequency you chose, it is important that you follow it, as it is something an external auditor will check.

By carrying out a management review, you give yourself the opportunity to sit down and really analyse the performance of your management system, ensuring that it is still meeting the needs of your business and that you are continuing to follow all of the processes you set down in it.

Unlike in larger businesses, it isn’t needed for senior management to touch base. But as your business’ sole member, it remains important for you to check that you are able to keep spotting non-conformities and areas for improvement.

The minutes from these meetings must also be recorded and kept so that your external auditor can check them at your next audit.

A helping hand

When you work on your own, you have no sounding board. This means you need to be the expert in all of the processes of  your management system, and that you will have to chair the meeting, take the minutes and consider all of the actions raised.

If you find this prospect daunting, you may want to think if there is anyone else who could be your partner in this exercise. Perhaps you have a financial or business adviser that you work closely with who could provide some insight.

If you really are the only one, we have some tips for you to master the management review all on your own.

5 tips for carrying out a management review on your own

1.  Preparation

As the sole person within your business, running it should be second nature to you, and you should be aware of all of its processes. However, it will help to review your documented management system before the meeting just in case there is something that has started to slide or has changed since your last review.

Preparation can begin long before your scheduled meeting. If you think of something that is worth noting in between reviews, jot it down so it can be thought over during the actual meeting. Perhaps a new non-conformity raises its head, or you have to adapt a process to meet a new customer demand.

2.  Evidence

A management review meeting is a great time to review your documented evidence, which is collected and recorded as a requirement of your ISO. Make life easier for yourself by getting documents such as audit reports, legal registers, complaints analysis and corrective and preventative actions ready.

Laptop on man's lap with QMS website3.  Use templates to guide you

To make sure you cover off all the key areas, you will need an agenda. If you’re not sure what this could entail, use a template to guide you. If you are a QMS client, we provide an editable management review template in our online portal, Atlas.

4.  Go into detail (if you want to)

The detail and depth of the minutes you keep from the meeting are really up to you. If you’re using a template, you can put down some detail under each heading and you will be on track.

However, if you do decide to provide a great deal of detail and create a very comprehensive document, this could be used to support other areas of your business. For example, it could be used to underpin a bank loan as it demonstrates that your business has proper processes and procedures in place.

5.  Be dispassionate

This is easier said than done. When it’s your business, it can be hard to be unbiased, but a management review gets its best results when you can be honest about how your management system is working. Using evidence will help you here.

It can also be difficult to evaluate your own competence, so think long and hard about this. A training gap could be as simple as needing to improve your knowledge of management reviews. In which case reading articles such as this, getting yourself some training or attending one of our webinars on How to Conduct a Management Review can be noted down.


Still in need of more tips? If you want to find out more about management reviews, check out another of our articles. 

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About the author

  • Name:

    Claire Price

  • Company:

    Content Marketing Executive

  • Bio:

    Claire worked for Citation ISO Certification between 2020 and 2022 writing creative and informative content on ISO certification and consultation to help businesses reach their potential.


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