To play their role of gate-keepers, Document Controllers occasionally need to say “no”: “no” to incorrect documents, “no” to hazardous practices, “no” to actions that carry a risk of harm to people or of damage to the organisation.
In a well-functioning organisation, this possibility of a “no” from Documents Control is built into processes, procedures and practices.
However, the effectiveness of the protective role of Document Control professionals depends very much on the commitment and the support of their hierarchy: directors, managers, supervisors and team leaders.
Indeed, if the hierarchy of Document Control professionals does not support them, they cannot act as gate-keepers, which poses a threat to the safety of people and/or to the interests of the organisation.
Below are just a few examples of lack of support from hierarchy:
- A user submits a document with an incorrect revision number. Document Control rejects the document, but the DC’s manager overrules and decides to publish the erroneous document – in order not to “slow down the process”;
- The Document Controller sets up the process so that all comments made on documents are directed to DC first, so that they can be logged and saved in a secure area before they can be forwarded to authors. However, users complain that it “slows down the process”, and the manager yields to pressure and decides that document reviewers can send their comments directly to authors;
- An important package of documents must be sent to an external company. The Document Controller naturally wishes to spend 5 minutes preparing a transmittal sheet, but the package manager deems it a waste of time, and the DC’s manager agrees to have the documents sent with no traceability.
The risks associated with such lack of support are well known to Document Controllers. But are they known to their hierarchy - directors, managers, supervisors and team leaders?
Often, the answer is no. Many directors, managers, supervisors and team leaders are not aware of the importance of Document Control and of the risks of not working by the best practices of Document Control.
From the perspective of a single organisation or of a single individual, it may not be immediately apparent that not working by the best practices of Document Control can lead to significant harm and damage.
However, Consepsys, as the world-leading Document Control consultancy, routinely gets informed of instances wherein the lack of support to Document Control professionals causes harm to people, or damage to the organisation, to other organisations or to the general public.
To help Document Control professionals get the support that they need, Consepsys has recently published a 1-hour awareness course aimed at directors, managers, supervisors and team leaders, to explain the importance of Document Control in their perspective: NDC-01, “The importance of Document Control for Management & Supervisory Roles”.
We invite DC professionals to tell their hierarchy about this course, to increase their chances of being supported.
Course "The importance of Document Control - for Management & Supervisory Roles (NDC01)"