Document control procedure for legal practices

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Information about Document control procedure for legal practices
Business & Mgmt

Published on March 16, 2014

Author: valantoff



Document control is one of the most important elements of any quality management system. It is essential for the management of information in any legal practice, including practices that don't have the resources to develop and maintain a fully fledged QMS.

Document Control Procedure LAW 9000 Best Legal Practice standard 1. Purpose The purpose of this procedure is to control the issue, revision, currency and storage of documents within the quality management system. 2. Scope • Document control at [practice name] covers written policies (which set the broad operational framework for a process or practice), procedures (explain what tasks to do and in what order), work instructions, checklists, quality control forms, office documents, forms and templates, precedents, standard contracts and agreements • It also covers systems to control documents of an external nature such as legal reference texts, legislation and any other books or journals that are involved in providing a service to clients • This procedure covers control of the LAW 9000 Quality Manual and the marketing literature pertaining to all products and services offered by [practice name] • This procedure applies to all documents that are produced by the practice and used by the practice, irrespective of their origin. 3. Persons Affected All personnel 4. Policy It is the policy of [practice name] that all documents required by the quality management system shall be controlled. 5. Definitions The term ‘document’ includes all of the company's policies, procedures, working instructions, office documents, forms and templates, precedents, standard contracts and agreements and external documents such as equipment manuals, reference texts, legislation and any other internal and external documentation that is used in the provision of client services. 6. Responsibilities • The Principal/Partners have overall responsibility for ensuring documents issued as part of the QMS are controlled • The Quality Manager oversees the control of all documents • The Quality Manager is responsible for ensuring all LAW 9000 procedures and the Quality Manual are revised and approved as required

• All employees can request a change to a document. 7. Procedure a) A process to authorise the development and subsequent release of new procedures or precedents. • Original documents shall be reviewed for adequacy and completeness and approved by the departments and personnel responsible prior to issue • All documents included in the scope of this procedure are issued using the practice knowledgebase online system (for example a SharePoint based system). All relevant personnel is informed affected by the new documents are informed by automated email generated by the knowledgebase system. b) A process to review, update and re-release amended documents or precedents. • Prior to release, revisions to previously approved documents shall require the same authorisation and approvals as the original • All documents in the quality management system are reviewed yearly • Additionally all personnel can initiate a change to an existing document by completing a corrective action form • Fortnightly meetings to review change requests are attended by [list staff] • If the change is approved the Quality Manager is responsible for updating affected documents • The new version is published on the knowledgebase system and the old version is archived for future reference. c) A system to identify what is the latest version or issue of a document. • All documents in the knowledgebase system are current • The most recent revision date is displayed when accessing the documents online • A printed copy of any knowledgebase system document is an uncontrolled copy. d) A system to ensure that documents are readily available and accessible to the staff that need them.  All approved documents and changes are updated in the knowledgebase system and made readily accessible to the personnel concerned. e) Documents shall be legible and readily identifiable.  Any document that is printed or photocopied must be checked for legibility before distribution  [Practice name] documents are electronically controlled and identified by their title. Historical versions of documents are maintained by the document management system. f) A process to ensure that the practice maintains up to date copies of reference texts and legislation

 Documents of external origin determined by the practice to be necessary for the planning and operation of the QMS shall be identified and their distribution controlled  All texts, legislative, regulatory or other documents acquired by the company are received into the knowledgebase document control system. The date of receipt is recorded in the knowledgebase system  For some documents of external origin only a hyperlink is provided to assist in maintaining the latest version of the document by just referring to its original source  All external source documents will be reviewed annually by the relevant management representative for currency status and revision  An external documents category is maintained in the knowledgebase system to track the location, use and currency of all external documents. g) A process to prevent the unintended use of obsolete documents  Obsolete documents retained for the purposes of legal and knowledge preservation shall be identified as "Obsolete" and shall be controlled. h) A process to ensure that changes to documents are communicated to staff  A controlled copy of each published document will be held on the knowledgebase system  All employees are knowledgebase system subscribers to relevant categories of documents  Changes made to a published/controlled document will trigger an automatic notification by email to relevant employees  When a controlled document becomes obsolete, employees will be informed of the change and instructed to dispose of any copies (printed or soft copies) they hold of the document. The document will be removed from the knowledgebase system. 8. Quality Measure Regular audits of QMS documents will be used to monitor the successful execution of the document control process as described in this procedure.

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