Our ISO 9001 quality policy

Everything we say, do, and provide to drug users gives a clear signal about how much we value them and their health.

If messages or products are presented in an attractive, high quality and credible way they are likely to be used, listened to and acted upon. Conversely when services produce cheap, unattractive, text dense and poorly tested information then it will be less attractive to their target audience.

Exchange Supplies, exists to prevent drug related harm. Harm reduction information, products and services are life saving interventions. Ever since the first edition of the methadone handbook was published in 1992, we have firmly held the belief that drug services should, at the very least, supply products, publications and information that is of the same standard as any other health service.

Beyond this, we believe that the level of health need and inequality amongst drug users requires us to do all we can to promote safer drug use. Provision of quality publications, products and services is an essential component of the social marketing of harm reduction strategies and interventions.

We are also constantly aware of the end use of our products, and are unique amongst providers of paraphernalia, in having put in place pharmaceutical industry quality control, product monitoring and recall procedures for our paraphernalia products. This means that services can distribute them with absolute confidence in their safety.

We believe that compromising quality diminishes the message, devalues drug users and exposes them to levels of risk that would not be tolerated amongst other patient groups.

We first achieved ISO accreditation in 2008, in 2011 we decided to dispense with the ISO registration, and concentrate on focussing on continual improvement in order to deliver the best possible (and most flexible) service to our customers. However, in 2018 we started packing packs of injecting equipment, many of which are made under contracts that have to be tendered for, and some of which have ISO 9001 and 14001 as essential prerequisites for companies submitting a tender, so in and in 2018 we transitioned to the new 2015 standard, with an updated Quality Policy:

At Exchange Supplies we are committed to developing high quality, useful, and innovative products and services to improve the harm reduction response to drug use.

To achieve this we are all committed to ensuring that

For our CUSTOMERS we:
  • identify current and future harm reduction, product, information

and service needs; and
  • encourage feedback to help us improve our products and services.

  • facilitate continual improvement

  • set, communicate, and achieve quality objectives

  • manage our processes to ensure they are performed

to the highest standards; and
  • maintain a quality system that ensures compliance with ISO 9001:2015

and relevant statutory and industry requirements.

Our STAFF are:
  • working to maintain a culture that seeks to continually improve performance.

And that work with SUPPLIERS who are:
  • appropriately qualified, and who share our commitment to quality

and customer satisfaction.

Our previous quality statement was:
ISO Quality standard 9001:2008
As part of our committment to providing the highest quality products and services to reduce drug related harm we have, since 2005, been committed to building, and constantly following a comprehesive set of independently audited quality procedures.

The ISO 9001:2008 quality standard is an internationally recognised independently audited measure of quality, that gives customers a guarantee that an organisation has the internal systems necessary to deliver constantly improving products and services.

We were registered between 2005 and 2014, and our annual independent audit was always been very positive, however, by 2014 it was clear that sometimes we were doing things because the procedures said they should be done, even through everyone doing them knew that they weren't helping the customers, and were taking time.

By this time we had adopted a much more bottom up, continual improvement philosophy, so we decided to drop our ISO quality standard approval and focus on a much more active method of continual process improvement.

For the sake of history, our ISO history - which was an important part of getting to where we are today - is set out below.

"An exemplary well documented system with design and content to a high standard"

The vast majority of companies with ISO 9001 certification only implement the minimum set of quality procedures – at Exchange Supplies our quality procedures cover all aspects of what we do, including our finance procedures, publication writing and peer review of information, raising of your orders, picking, packing and dispatch. This means that you can be sure we remain committed to quality in all aspects of what we do.

We publish on our website full details of any areas picked up by the independent audit as not conforming to our procedures, and the corrective action we take. We have now had 6 independent audits, and have never had a quality non-compliance found! Reports are reproduced below.

7th ISO assessment October 2011
The 2011 audit again found no non-conformances or discrepancies were in either the ISO 9001:2008 (quality) or ISO 14001:2004 (environmental) systems audit.

The auditors report said:
"A Surveillance visit was carried out for recertification of ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards.The documented procedures are regularly reviewed, and reflect well the company's operations. A thorough internal audit programme has enabled a number of ongoing improvements to be made.

Very good operational control has been demonstrated during the audit, the Sales order processing system enables a simple but effective system to control order picking and stock control.

The company has very little environmental impact, even so good control of utility use and waste management was demonstrated.

No concerns were raised during the visit, therefore I have no hesitation in recommending continued certification to both the above schemes.

I would like to thank the staff for their hospitality during my visit.
Richard Lindley
October 2011"

6th ISO assessment October 2010
Exchange Supplies continues to operate its quality and environmental systems to a very high standard... The ISO 9001 audit was carried out to the revised ISO 9001:2008 quality standard.

No non-conformances or discrepancies were noted in either ISO 9001:2008 (quality) or ISO 14001:2004 (environmental) systems audit.

5th ISO assessment November 2009
"The company operates its quality and environmental systems to a very high standard... The ISO 9001 audit was carried out to the revised ISO 9001:2008 standard. No non conformances or discrepancies were noted on either ISO 9001:2008 or ISO 14001:2004 systems audit."

4th ISO assessment: October 2008
Our 2008 assessment was again extremely positive, with (as always) no 'non-compliances' found in any of our procedures or quality systems.

The auditors' report said:
"Exchange Supplies is an exceedingly well run company. The Quality Management System was well designed, and the procedures contained therein are followed and used as a management tool.

An in-depth audit revealed no findings worthy of note.

Employees have been well trained, and documented procedures are being followed. The systems were seen to be maintained and improved in accordance with the requirements of ISO 9001:2000, and continued registration is recommended.

3rd ISO assessment: 2007
Since our last assessment we have become a licenced pharmaceutical wholesale dealer, and we included all the procedures relating to the proper storage and distribution of medicines in the scope of the inspection.This makes the achievment of continuted egistration, with only one minor non-conformance found in the whole audit, all the greater.

The report summary was, as always, very positive: " The company is using the quality management tool as a management tool for improvement. There is evidence of commitment from the top management in the maintenance and use of the system. The company is constantly reviewing the system to reflect changes...great improvement identified... continuous ISO9001:2000 registration is therefore recommended.

2nd ISO assessment: 2006
During 2006 we developed our financial systems and included them in our quality management system, which guarantees efficient and prompt payment of suppliers, and correct invoicing and storage of all financial records. Again during our annual inspection the auditor found no incidences of non-compliance with our systems, and the report summary said:

"An improved quality management system, well documented and maintained. Great evidence of commitment to the system by senior management and staff in general. Customer focused, with improved communication processes both internally and externally with all interested parties and customers.
The assessor has no concerns to raise - continuous ISO9001:2000 registration is therefore recommended."

2005 assessment
As a new registrant we were again audited in September 2005 to check that the systems were being used and hadn't just been implemented for the inspection and then ignored.

The assessor found no procedural non-conformances, and made no observations of areas of concern. The report summary was as follows:

"Excellent management system in place and great improvements made since last visit. Evidence of management commitment to the system, assessor therefore has no concerns to raise continual registration to ISO 9001:2000 is recommended."

Initial assessment
On 4th February 2005, following several months of preparation, we were first independently assessed by an auditor from URS quality management systems for ISO 9001:2000 certification.

The auditor's report summary said:

"An exemplary well documented system with design and content to a high standard. Assessor has no concerns to raise, registration to ISO 9001:2000 recommended."

This means that we have a full set of clearly defined and independently certified policies and procedures in place to ensure that we remain focused on:
  • Making sure our customers and users of our products and services are happy with them; and

  • Continually improving our performance, products and services.

and that we meet:
  • Our customer's requirements for quality policies; and

  • All applicable regulatory requirements.

Scope of our registration
The scope of our ISO 9001:2000 certification was further extended in 2007 to include the distribution of medicines under our wholesale dealers licence, as well as all other areas of our work. Our ISO 9001:2000 registration covers:

"Development and supply of products, including medicines sold within the terms of the company’s Pharmaceutical Wholesale Dealers Licence, to minimise infection and harm to intravenous drug users.

Development and publishing of drug and health related information. Organisation and presentation of conferences and training courses."

Our quality system designer: Steve Hill
Our ISO 9001 policies and procedures have been developed for us by Steve Hill Associates. Steve is an independent consultant (whose services we can highly recommend) who comes in regularly to:
  • document our procedures;

  • conduct audits and spot checks;

  • systematically review our policies, procedures and documentation

to ensure that everything remains up to date and accurate.

To find out more, you can visit his website by clicking here (Steve Hill Associates website page opens in a new window).


Exchange Supplies,
1 Great Western Industrial Centre,
Dorchester, Dorset DT1 1RD, UK


01305 262244