[This is breaking news, and may be updated as more facts come in.]

According to three separate sources, a “secret vote” to revise ISO 9001 held on May 17th was not held, as the special TC 176 meeting broke down into “firm, but cordial” arguments between members. There was “vocal opposition” to revising ISO 9001, consistent with prior votes.

ISO first held a routine 5-year review vote to update ISO 9001:2015, which was shot down by a majority of voters. ISO executives rejected that vote, and demanded that TC 176 hold additional votes. Attempts were made by key ISO representatives to convince world members to change their votes, and additional attempts at re-balloting were made, including one remarkably unprofessional poll conducted using SurveyMonkey. In all cases, the votes came back with the same result, telling ISO not to update ISO 9001.

On May 17th, a special session of TC 176 was held to hold a sixth vote, with key members such as Jose Dominguez having worked behind the scenes as “whips” to get key nations in line, with the intent to overrule the prior votes. That meeting devolved into disagreements on key issues, including the need for the vote and the voting itself, to the point that no vote was held. The meeting is reported to have been friendly and well-organized, however.

One source now reports that TC 176 will let the Chair’s Strategic Advisory Group (CSAG) make a final decision next week, but it’s not clear if this means CSAG will simply order a revision to ISO 9001 and ignore all the votes to date. If so, ISO will have openly violated both its own procedures and its requirements under the World Trade Organization’s “Technical Barriers to Trade” regulations.

ISO is pushing to update ISO 9001 for three reasons: to include a single sentence on climate change, to update the standard to align with the updated Annex SL “core text,” and to boost its revenue when the revision goes on sale. ISO stands to earn over $200 million within the first year of the release of an updated ISO 9001 document.

UPDATE 18 May 2023: The original version of this article said the SPOTG committee would make a final decision on the vote; in fact, this is the CSAG committee. The article was updated.


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