The International Accreditation Forum (IAF) has “scrapped” a survey it circulated for feedback on updates to the IAF’s mandatory audit duration after Oxebridge circulated the survey to actual ISO 9001 user organizations. The IAF and the telecommunications industry group TIA/QuEST Forum submitted the survey only to “certification bodies, accreditation bodies and consultants,” and explicitly did not seek feedback from the organizations that purchase ISO standards, nor those that pay for ISO 9001 certification auditing services.

Oxebridge obtained the survey and circulated it for ISO 9001 users and the public to enter their feedback, a move which frustrated IAF and QuEST members, according to two industry sources.

In an internal email obtained by Oxebridge, the QuEST Forum indicated the survey was “inappropriately posted for input skewing the data results,” and that “going forward there will be some rules on sharing to mitigate repeat.” It is not clear why allowing the public or user organizations to provide feedback would “skew” results, unless the industry already had results in mind, results which would be likely to be opposed by paying users.

The email was sent by Laura Coplan of the telecommunications company Infinera, and indicated it was a summary of positions developed as a result of a senior leadership meeting. That meeting included members of the certification bodies TUV, NQA and DQS, as well as the accreditation body ANAB. In addition, representatives from the companies Arris, Fujitsu, BizPhyx, Cisco and Coriant, and the consulting firms Desara Group and Excel Partnership, were involved in the decision.

The email provides damning evidence that the IAF scheme actors are actively working to deny the public and ISO certification user organizations access to provide input on regulations which affect them, despite the fact that such stakeholders pay for certification services either directly or through fees passed down through product costs. Because the US Federal government mandates IAF accreditations in government contracts, and because the IAF is a Delaware-registered organization, this raises questions as to whether the IAF is inappropriately engaged in advancing regulatory requirements without public input.

The survey was developed by Cisco’s Sheronda Jeffries, who is the Strategic Relations Chair of QuEST Forum, a board member of ANAB and the head of the IAF’s “User Advisory Committee.” Despite her roles, Jeffries has not engaged with user organizations to date, other than telecommunications company representatives within the QuEST Forum.

Ms. Coplan referred questions regarding her email to Jeffries. Ms. Jeffries has refused to reply to multiple requests for clarification, however. The IAF and QuEST Forum have, to date, refused to comment on their refusals to engage with stakeholders.

 

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