Interested Parties Environmental Needs and expectations have not been determined.
Some Context to the Finding
The English based countryside management company that this finding relates to had environmental concern at the heart of everything they did from the provision of ecological services to the installtation of wildlife friendly corridors.
The organisation had in fact already identified relevant interested parties (including the Environment Agency, Natural England and the British Association of Landscaping Industies (BALI)) and had correctly identified relevant needs and expectations, which did include environmental considerations.
Action taken to address the finding
In reviewing the root cause of the issue raised, it was ascertained that there was a difference of opinion regarding the level of detail required. Therefore, no change was made to the company's documentation in terms of interested parties, as this was fully documented. Instead, they chose to update their manual (which they had continued to maintain, even though the 2015 version of the Standard no longer specifically requires the use of a Manual) to help the assesor better understand that the provision of environmental services was so fundamental to their work.
Lessons to take from this finding
Sometimes assessors miss things - even when they are there in black and white! (Assessors are only human, after all!)
It's okay to point out that the information was there all along, but attempt to understand why an assessor might have missed the information, and consider what you can change to help demonstrate that you have fully addressed a specific clause.
Taking the opportunity to understand why the assessor failed to spot the spot the environmental significance of the company's services in relation to interested parties provided an opportunity to review the way in which key messages were communicated, internally and externally.
Correctly defining the context of your organisation and understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties is a key step within an ISO 14001 environmental management system. If you need help to do this for your organisation, contact us on 029 2070 3328 or via firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your needs.