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Clause 4 Context of the Organization

4.2 Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties

Clause Criteria

The organization shall determine;
the interested parties that are relevant to the management system,
the relevant requirements of these interested parties.


The intent of the requirement for understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties is to specify the requirements for a high-level (e.g. strategic) understanding, relevant to the management system.

Not all interested party requirements become requirements of the organization.
Some are not applicable to the organization or relevant to the management system.
Others are mandatory because they have been incorporated into laws, regulations, permits and licenses by government, authority, or court action.
An organization may decide to voluntarily adopt or enter into an agreement or contract.
Once adopted or agreed to, it must comply.
If an interested party ‘perceives’ themselves to be affected by the management system, they must make that fact known to the organization.
Apart from legal requirements, the needs and expectations of an interested party become obligations when they are specified, and the organization decides that it will adopt and adhere to them.
Once the organization subscribes, then they become organizational requirements.
The knowledge gained from the analysis and evaluation of applicable requirements, is then used to guide the development, implementation and maintenance of the management system.

Chief Explainer:

Phil Byrne

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