A complaint filed by Oxebridge against ISO 9001 registrar Alcumus ISOQAR has been escalated to the accreditation body UKAS after Alcumus ISOQAR denied the complaint and took no action regarding the allegations.
The Oxebridge complaint alleges that Alcumus ISOQAR’s “Diamond Referral” program violates accreditation rules under ISO 17021-1 by offering consultants quid pro quo rewards in exchange for the consultant steering clients to Alcumus ISOQAR for registration. The rewards promoted by Alcumus ISOQAR include cash-value gifts, free meals, exclusive VIP access to events, and even champagne.
ISO 17021-1 aims to ensure the validity of accredited ISO 9001 certificates by providing rules that prohibit collusion between registrars such as Alcumus ISOQAR and consultants.
In a brief email response, Alcumus ISOQAR Director Nikki Samme claimed her company had done nothing wrong:
Having reviewed the detail of your complaint with our internal technical team I am satisfied that the operational structure and processes underpinning the Alcumus IAN scheme are compliant with our UKAS accreditation requirements.
I have also instigated an internal review of the various website and marketing communications we published surrounding the IAN scheme. As a result of this we have made some amendments to the content so as to avoid any ambiguity; this process is under continual review.
To date, it appears the only change made to the Alcumus ISOQAR marketing was to remove the mention of the gifts; there is no indication that Alcumus ISOQAR actually stopped giving the gifts to participating consultants.
UKAS now has a set period of time to conduct its own review, and if found in violation, cite Alcumus ISOQAR. Representatives of UKAS have insisted they are paying attention to the complaint, as they deemed it “very serious,” but previous complaints of lesser violations by its registrars has seen UKAS routinely side with the CB, even in the case of potential criminal actions.
Oxebridge has reminded UKAS that it is subject to United Kingdom law in the exercise of its responsibilities.