We live in interesting times. The automotive industry seems to be declaring that a TS 16949 certificate with any accreditation mark, no matter if it’s legit or not, is completely valid. ANAB and Smithers invent an entirely new ISO 9001 certification variant out of thin air. Certificate mill operators offer audit-free “virtual certifications” and accreditation services to standards you aren’t even allow to see. Registrars agree to certify cement “death jackets” designed to kill their customers. The IAF decrees that auditors don’t even have to gather their own evidence, and can offload that work to their clients. UKAS rules that it’s entirely fine for CBs to consult, provide they call it providing “templates”, or for CBs to certify companies that they knew were breaking international law. ISO uses annual certificate totals in marketing pitches, but refuses to answer questions on how the hell they came up with their whacked-out numbers.

Which begs the question: why on earth is anyone paying for this?

And, as always, Oxebridge has the solution. If quality is free, then fake quality is free-er. Just stop paying altogether, and certify yourself to whatever you want. Cut out the middleman. Why should ANAB or UKAS or IATF or IAQG get any money at all, if they really just don’t give a damn about their responsibilities? Why pay unaccredited certificate mills $500 for a worthless certificate, when you can get one for free that’s even more worthless?

So here you go. Oxebridge presents the fill-it-in-yourself Accredited Certification for Anything. Just print, fill in your company name and the standard you want, and feel free to submit it to whomever asks. If, for example, GM says they have a problem with it, tell them Joe Branksy said it’s fine.




(Click to embiggen.)

This certificate is accredited by ARCAB – the Accredited Registrars Certification Accreditation Board – which has got to be better than Daryl Guberman’s “American Board of Accredited Certifications” because mine has the word “accreditation” in it twice.  Not only that, this certificate features more than a dozen accreditation marks, and at least one demonic cult symbol.  And it’s certified as 600% Made in America, so if you disagree, you are a terrorist that hates your country, you godless bastard.

And you can’t beat the price: free. It even comes with an Oxebridge guarantee that no one on planet earth will ever be able to produce a more useless certification, no matter how much they charge you.

Now some people will tell you that this is meaningless, and that accredited certifications carry weight. From the ever-reliable font of spin, Denise Robitaille:

Registrars are required to play by internationally established rules that are promulgated by such organizations as CASCO, the conformity assessment committee of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Some of the more commonly known standards that are used are ISO 17021 … and ISO 17023.

There’s only one wrinkle; it’s not actually true.  The IAF rules have no legal weight, so, no… registrars are not required by play by rules, and Robitaille is being grossly dishonest in saying so. Even within the IAF, members are so busy breaking the rules, they may have established an historical precedent that utterly trumps their argument to the contrary. Actual documented evidence proves that the CB’s aren’t following the rules, and the AB’s aren’t citing them for it. So long as everyone pays their own traffic cop, this will never change. The problem for groups like IAF is that by posting such stuff on their site as fact, they are then legally held responsible for, you know… actually doing it. If a case can be made that they aren’t, then they may be seen as engaging in deceptive trade, antitrust and fraud. The question is whether or not that case can be made. The IAF and the rest think they are above the law because no one has ever held them to it, largely because no one in importance has ever heard of them. That’s about to change.

In the mean time, if enough of these fake multi-accredited certificates flood the market, maybe the powers that be will get serious about doing what they tell the world they are doing, and thus reduce their risk of litigation, while actually helping their reputations and improving the validity of accredited certification. Until then, go ahead, print the cert above and fill it in. There isn’t a damn thing they can do about it.



About Christopher Paris

Christopher Paris is the founder and VP Operations of Oxebridge. He has over 30 years' experience implementing ISO 9001 and AS9100 systems, and is a vocal advocate for the development and use of standards from the point of view of actual users. He is the author of Surviving ISO 9001 and Surviving AS9100. He reviews wines for the irreverent wine blog, Winepisser.