UPDATED see below.
England’s Chartered Quality Institute (CQI) is resisting commonsense calls to reduce the risk of transmission of the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to hold and market multiple public events, training sessions and section conferences.
While its US counterpart ASQ cancels events worldwide, the CQI has so far rejected this posture and as of March 16th was still promoting an event scheduled for the next day at its Nottingham Branch, on “The Importance of Internal Auditing,” to be given by consultant Nina Abbassi.
Abbassi reported to Oxebridge that she had reached out to CQI to cancel the event, but they refused:
I am not attending the event in person and have let the organisers know. I suggested that they cancel, reschedule or offer remote access to video link. I am not sure why they have not announced it yet. I have cancelled my March and April courses and not res- scheduled until we do a further risk assessment. I think everyone should do what they can to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
At the same time, CQI continues to promote coming events throughout March and April, when the virus is expected to be peaking within the UK, and its citizens at the greatest risk for widespread transmission.
CQI continues to promote a March 18th event in Gloucester at the Whitminster Inn on “Reliability.” A Birmingham branch March 24th event remains on the calendar on the subject of standards and local councils. The Thames Valley branch is still holding a public event on “good manufacturing principles” on March 26th.
The CQI Wolverhampton Branch did cancel a March 17th event because of COVID-19.
The UK has been roundly criticized for taking a lackadaisical response to the global pandemic. The government has resisted commonsense calls for lockdowns, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson resisting calls to implement social distancing regulations. Last week the UK government worsened appearances when the nation’s top scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, appeared to argue for intentional widespread infection, in order to establish “herd immunity.”
The COVID-19 disease has a high mortality rate, and is especially lethal for senior citizens and those with related health problems. “Herd immunity” is typically achieved through vaccination, not by allowing a highly contagious, deadly disease to propagate by inaction.
CQI claims, among other things, to be a source of training and education on risk management, even as it appears to show little concern for the risks associated with holding public events during a global viral outbreak. Oxebridge has often criticized CQI for putting sales ahead of the needs of its members.
Representatives of CQI did not immediately respond to questions about this article.
UPDATED 19 March 2020: Within hours of Oxebridge reaching out to CQI for comments, the organization began imposing new restrictions. In a memo published March 17th — a day after Oxebridge’s reporting — CQI announced it was suspending face-t0-face meetings and cancelling in-person events.
Despite clearly being prompted to take action due to its reporting, CQI never directly responded to Oxebridge’s questions.