Winter Haven FL — In the largest, most comprehensive complaint ever filed by Oxebridge against an accredited registrar, a formal complaint has been filed against SGS to its accreditation body, ANAB, citing 10 separate violations of ISO 17021 and 1 violation of SGS against its own corporate policy.

The escalation to ANAB comes after SGS Accreditation Director Zachary Pivarnik personally refused to process a formal complaint issued by Oxebridge on behalf of its client, then refused Oxebridge any access to the company’s required Impartiality Committee. Access to the Impartiality Committee was crucial, since Mr. Pivarnik had personally signed an ISO 9001 certificate named in the original complaint to SGS, and was therefore prohibited from having any role in the processing of the Oxebridge complaint. Finally, Mr. Pivarnik refused to put any of his positions in writing, however a voicemail of him calling the complaint “an inquisition” was retained. Oxebridge alleges that the refusals by Mr. Pivarnik amount to stonewalling and seriously jeopardize the impartiality of SGS certification activities, resulting in ten separate violations of ISO 17021, the standard to which registrars must adhere in order to remain accredited.

An eleventh citation was against SGS and Mr. Pivarnik for improperly implementing SGS’ own “Codes of Practice” which aim to ensure confidence and impartiality. During his response to the original Oxebridge complaint, Mr. Pivarnik claimed that he was prohibited from responding to Oxebridge on the grounds that “SGS policy” only required the registrar to respond to “clients under contract.” However, the published SGS policy, found here (PDF document), clearly states that complaints can be received from “anybody”. This is in alignment with ISO 17021 and ISO 10002 which allow complaints from anyone connected with ISO 9001, and even from the general public.

What had been a simple request for SGS to investigate its processes related to reviewing audit reports and auditor findings after each certification audit, as required by ISO 17021, has now turned into the largest complaint ever submitted to ANAB or any accreditation body against a registrar by Oxebridge.

Worsening matters for SGS, two more clients have since come forward to Oxebridge alleging similar complaints in the way SGS has handled concerns or complaints, and their feedback may be appended to the current Oxebridge complaint to ANAB. In one case, the client named Mr. Pivarnik explicitly as being the person who failed to provide a satisfactory solution to a complaint issued against an auditor. It must be emphasized that Oxebridge has not independently verified, or had first-hand verification, of these allegations to date, and they remain only allegations reported by SGS clients.

The complaint submitted to ANAB now focuses on alleged breaks in the impartiality and complaints processing rules by SGS; the original question of how SGS reviews audit reports and issues certificates remains open, however, still unrecorded by Mr. Pivarnik and therefore not undergoing any investigation. ANAB could elect to force SGS to process the original complaint, if it finds sufficient evidence to do so.

The complaint has been issued tracking # 368 on ANAB’s website.

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Since 2000, Oxebridge has worked to improve ISO and related certification schemes by identifying problems and then proposing solutions. We report on issues affecting standards users because so few other news outlets do. Our belief is that in order to fix the problems in these schemes, we must first understand the nature and breadth of those problems. Our reporting aims to do just that. Elsewhere on the Oxebridge site you will find White Papers and other articles proposing ideas to correct these problems.

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