Public sector consultancy from TECH obtains ISO 9001 certification
After three years of strenuous effort, the Faculty of Technical Sciences (Tech) has now obtained documentation for the high quality in its public sector consultancy: Last week, the faculty was the first in Denmark to be certified under the international ISO 9001 standard for its public sector consultancy. This documents and ensures that consultancy activity at Tech is of high quality to benefit both the university and its clients.
In late summer 2020, many Tech staff and managers found themselves in a situation resembling something like an exam, when the faculty quality organisation and the accredited certification company FORCE conducted the external Phase 2 audit of the consultancy activities provided by the faculty's researchers and advisers every year.
The Ministry of Environment and Food is the primary beneficiary of consultancy from AU, but the Ministry of Climate, Energy and utilities, the Government of Greenland and a number of local authorities and companies are also clients for research-based expertise from the university.
"Providing consultancy for authorities, companies and other organisations is very important for our work as a university and for our many partners – not least for the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark. That these consultancy activities have now achieved ISO 9001 certification documents that our consultancy has high, uniform quality, and that the Ministry receives the best possible products for taxpayers' money. Furthermore, the many dedicated employees deserve great praise for their efforts to achieve this certification," says Vice-dean Kurt Nielsen, who, as quality manager, is in charge of the work at Aarhus University.
After the certification audit in August, on 10 September 2020 FORCE signed off with the official certificate documenting that the faculty complies with the extensive requirements and frameworks required to obtain ISO 9001 certification. The faculty's work on its quality management system started in 2017, and the system was implemented at the faculty on 1 September 2019.
"This is the culmination of a huge effort to enhance quality, and it is the realisation of our ambitious goal for the faculty, which everyone can be proud of," says Vice-dean Kurt Nielsen.
Documentation and a clear framework
ISO 9001 is a quality management system recognised all over the world, and which for many people is synonymous with quality, efficient management and documentation. It is also a structured and recognised tool in dialogue with clients. Experience shows that ISO 9001 improves the quality of products and services, and that certified companies can manage their internal work processes better. The latter benefits employees, for whom the procedures in the system are support in the often very time-pressed consultancy for the authorities. The standard also ensures that Tech has constant focus on forging improvements through openness and a systematic approach, both internally and in collaboration with external partners.
ISO 9001 places requirements on the entire process for consultancy: from when the assignment arrives from the client, to reconciliation of expectations, implementation and quality assurance of the product and publication. In particular, there is strong focus on client requirements and satisfaction, as well as on documentation of all workflows, and the system specifies the requirements for both implementation of new work processes and the ongoing maintenance and enhancement of the faculty's quality management of consultancy activities.
ISO 9001 certification is mutual documentation between Tech and collaboration partners to ensure consistently high quality of consultancy, and that the processes are transparent for consultancy activities carried out by the faculty.