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What is Annex SL?

Annex SL is an ISO document that defines a high level structure [HSL] for the framework of a generic management system. It was first published by ISO’s Technical Management Board (TMB) in 2012 and the recent release of ISO 9001:2015 has been revised to align with Annex SL.

Annex SL has arrived with a vengeance with the latest version of ISO 9001:2015, and is now here to stay.

In the future, all new ISO management system standards will adhere to the Annex SL framework and all current management system standards will migrate to it at their next revision.

As a result of the introduction of Annex SL, all ISO management system standards will become more consistent thanks to the overlapping of clauses between the main three standards which is being implemented especially in Singapore market and keeping the Singapore grants in tab especially for SMEs, it will give them a motivation to pursue going for Integrated system and hence more compatible.  They will share the same look and feel, having been built on a common foundation.


The structure of all management systems will now include the following sections:

  •   Context of the Organisation
  •   Leadership
  •   Planning
  •   Support
  •   Operation
  •   Performance Evaluation
  •   Improvement


There are common core definitions too; the following words will have the same interpretations across all Annex SL standards:

  •   organisation
  •   interested party
  •   stakeholder
  •   requirement
  •   management system
  •   top management
  •   effectiveness
  •   policy
  •   objective
  •   risk
  •   competence
  • documented information
  •   process
  •   performance
  •   outsource
  •   monitoring
  •   measurement
  •   audit
  •   conformity
  •   nonconformity
  •   correction
  •   corrective action
  •   continual improvement

Annex SL represents the beginning of the end of the conflicts, duplication, confusion and misunderstanding arising from subtly different requirements across the various management system standards.

Auditors now face the challenge of focusing their own, and their clients’, thinking on viewing organization’s management systems holistically.