TC 176 has voted on an ISO 9001 request for interpretation (RFI) initially submitted by Oxebridge, but only after it was resubmitted by third parties.
In September of 2022, an RFI was submitted by Oxebridge founder Christopher Paris related to ISO 9001 clause 8.4.3, due to years of problems by certification bodies (CBs) misinterpreting the requirements related to “Information for External Suppliers.” In every prior edition of ISO 9001, the clause included the words “as appropriate,” indicating the bullet list items were optional. The ISO 9001:2015 edition, however, omitted the words by accident, creating interpretation problems.
Since then, third-party CB auditors wrote nonconformities unless certified clients flowed down each 8.4.3 bullet on every purchase order, regardless of what was being purchased. In some cases, suppliers rejected the POs, refusing to comply with requirements they deemed inappropriate or not applicable to the transaction.
Paris initially filed the RFI through what is usually a fairly routine and uneventful process. Within the United States, however, such requests are submitted to the American Society for Quality (ASQ), which fulfills the role of “TAG Administrator” for the ANSI Technical Advisory Group to ISO TC 176. The ASQ staffer processing the RFI was Jennifer Admussen, who had previously issued a worldwide ban against Paris, blocking him from speaking at ASQ events. The ban came after Paris pressed the organization to oust white supremacist members and offer low-cost supplemental health insurance to members.
In what appears to have been a move driven by spite, Admussen refused to process the RFI, citing a series of shifting excuses.
Rather than continue to work the issue through the United States TAG and ASQ, Paris called on his massive follower count to submit the RFI on his behalf. It is estimated that Paris has more than four times the following than ASQ has international members.
Some of those additional submissions came from readers in the US, and thus were sent to Admussen. In a display of complete contempt for her official duties, Admussen ignored all the RFIs, no matter who submitted them.
At the same time, however, ISO international members outside the US received the RFI from other Oxebridge readers around the world, thus bypassing Admussen, ASQ, and the US entirely.
Now, ISO has released the results of the ballot vote on the RFI, and ruled that the clause is intended only to require users to flow down applicable bullet points of clause 8.4.3, and not the entire list. This is consistent with the position put forth by Paris and Oxebridge.
Paris called the controversy “unnecessary” and wrote to Admussen calling on her to resign. “This was an embarrassment of your own making,” Paris wrote.
ANSI — which oversees the TAG and ASQ in such matters — was kept abreast of Admussen’s dereliction, but then refused to take action. ANSI manager Anne Caldas instead adopted the same practice as so many other TAG and ASQ officials, citing even more bureaucratic procedures as a justification for why she would not hold Admussen responsible:
[If] you remain unsatisfied with ASQ’s response …you may advise ASQ that you would like to pursue an appeal through the TAG’s appeals process. Upon conclusion of the appeals process at the TAG level, you would then have the right to file an appeal with the ANSI Executive Standards Council (ExSC) in accordance with its procedures.
Oxebridge’s success in the matter is yet another black eye for ANSI and the US TAG, which has remained largely crippled by the infection of private consultants who work to make ISO 9001 complicated, while aggressively rejecting all user feedback and criticism.