iafcrystalballAccording to IAF documents, the International Accreditation Forum made a formal decision to endorse the future ISO 9001:2015 standard as early as 2013, some three years prior to publication.

The IAF oversees the activities of accreditation bodies such as ANAB and UKAS, which then oversee the work done by ISO 9001 registrars.

IAF Resolution 2013-15 declared the following:

The General Assembly acting on the recommendation of the Technical Committee, resolved to endorse the next revision of ISO 9001:2008 Quality management systems – Requirements, as a normative document. The General Assembly further agreed that the transition period for the next revision of ISO 9001:2008 will be three years from the date of publication.

Note : It was suggested that Conformity Assessment Bodies should encourage their clients to commence working on the transition as early as possible.

The IAF holds “liaison” status in ISO Technical Committee 176, responsible for drafting the ISO 98001 standard, and as such has some minor influence in the development of that standard. The fact that any organization predisposed to endorsing a standard before it is written is considered by some as troubling. Oxebridge VP Christopher Paris stated,

It indicates the IAF and its accreditation bodies, such as ANAB, are more interested in ensuring the ongoing market of certifications, no matter how well or how poorly the ISO 9001 standard is written. This is just one more piece of evidence that the ISO standards development process is mired in conflicts of interest by stakeholders who care nothing for international consensus.  What is more disconcerting is how bold they are about it, enough so to publish official statements such as this years before the standard is finished.

The IAF is led by Randy Dougherty, who is also the Vice President of ANAB. ANAB maintains a permanent presence on the US TAG to TC 176, responsible for developing US positions on the ISO 9001 standard. ANAB has no voting authority in the TAG, but nevertheless has influence. “As a result,” Paris said, “There is a direct line between IAF regulations and eventual TAG decisions, which could explain the desire by some in the TAG leadership to approve the FDIS no matter what.”

ANAB has come under criticism for accrediting BSI under the FDIS of ISO 9001, something which appears technically moot, since CBs cannot issue certificates to draft standards. The move allowed both BSI and ANAB to market BSI as the “first” CB accredited to the new standard.

Oxebridge is investigating, but it appears ANAB won the business of BSI after that registrar ran into some problems with its previous accreditation body, UKAS. That story is developing.