In a move that will directly impact the ISO certification scheme, the UK government has officially banned companies from providing services to Russia. The announcement specifically called out “management consulting,” which will have a major impact on UKAS and other British firms.
UKAS has been slow to honor international sanctions against Russia, and continued to allow its accreditation mark to be used by Russian companies, including those under specific sanctions. Previously, UKAS blamed its intransigence on the CBs it accredits.
In a strongly-worded statement, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss announced that the new ban will cover “management consulting, accounting and PR” services. UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is reported as having said:
Our professional services exports are extraordinarily valuable to many countries, which is exactly why we’re locking Russia out. By restricting Russia’s access to our world-class management consultants, accountants and PR firms, we’re ratcheting up economic pressure on the Kremlin to change course.
UKAS and bodies like BSI can make the argument that they do not provide “consulting,” as it is restricted under various accreditation standards. But the argument is unlikely to stick, given that so many bodies perform consulting anyway, and the UK government ban clearly appears to apply to certification services, as well.
ISO and IAF continue to refuse to honor sanctions, and are continuing to support Russia and sell services in that country. ISO re-tooled an early announcement about the conflict to align with Russian propaganda rules, editing its statement from referring to the “war” in Ukraine, calling it a “situation” instead.
The UK ban only applies to UK companies, however, meaning ISO and the IAF are still free to prop up Russia, as the war goes into its third month. But the move will put more pressure on ISO and IAF to align their actions with the international community.
This news is breaking, and will be updated as more details emerge.