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What is an Integrated Management System?

Implementing additional ISO standards is best done through creating an Integrated Management System. Your systems will work more effectively and efficiently, saving you time and money.


An Integrated Management System (IMS) is a framework for combining multiple ISO management systems into one rather than running parallel systems.

The goal of an IMS is to improve overall organisational performance. By aligning and coordinating the different management systems, you eliminate duplication. It saves you time and money.

This is all possible because ISO management systems share common elements. This is a method of combining multiple management systems such as ISO 9001 Quality Management, ISO 14001 Environmental Management, ISO 45001 Occupational Health & Safety Management and ISO 27001 Information Security Management into one cohesive system.

As a bonus, an IMS makes adding more standards easier.

Standards share common elements through Annex SL

You can combine as many standards as you like as long as the ones you’re looking to integrate utilise what’s known as the ‘Annex SL’ high level structure, which all standards produced since 2011 do. These standards are all based on the same 10 clauses which you will probably already be familiar with from your current ISO management system. Because they share a common framework, it’s easy to integrate them. (See the Wikipedia page for a full list of Annex SL standards.).

In essence, ISO management systems share many common elements. Integrating two or more management systems means you won’t need to duplicate effort when building your new system. Additionally, when it’s up and running you can, for example, audit the systems at the same time and consider both systems in the same management review.

Crucially, your certification body can do an integrated audit, with the systems audited together, saving you time and money.

You still get a separate certificate for each standard.

Benefits of an Integrated Management System

There are many benefits to building an IMS rather than running parallel systems.

  • No need to duplicate elements that are common to standards
  • Saves time for senior management by not having to repeat activities e.g. management reviews
  • Allows senior management to take a holistic view of the organisation
  • Improved communication and coordination between different departments and functions within the organisation
  • Reduces time and effort with internal auditing
  • Save time and money by reducing the need for separate audits from your certification body
  • Increased efficiency and effectiveness by eliminating the need for separate documentation and procedures
  • Increased flexibility and scalability as the organisation grows and evolves

How do we start?

To combine existing, parallel systems into one Integrated Management System, or to add a new standard to your existing system, you could speak to a consultant.  

It may also be beneficial to consider a training course on integrated management system. You’ll learn how to develop, implement and audit your system.

You may find it best to start by getting a price for the ongoing auditing of your IMS. Alcumus ISOQAR can give you a free no obligation quote for that.

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