Quality Digest continues to refuse to correct or retract a 2021 article that falsely claimed the IAF CertSearch database was “100% reliable” and contained “100%” of data related to the world’s ISO certifications.
The article was published by IAF representative Grant Ramaley, who was attempting to promote the much-maligned CertSearch database. At that time, the data was largely incomplete, filled with errors, and included a number of unaccreditd certificates mixed alongside the valid data. Participation by IAF member accreditation bodies (ABs) was not complete, meaning the data of thousands of accredited certification bodies (CBs) was not uploaded at all.
Despite this, Ramaley claimed — without proof — that as of January 2021 the CertSearch database “holds all information on the properly accredited certification bodies, and the IAF member accreditation bodies that accredited them.”
In fact, this part of the database is nearly 100-percent reliable and has been put to use by medical device regulatory authorities vetting suspicious certification bodies.
When challenged by noted author Milt Dentch on the falsity of his claims. Ramaley doubled-down:
However, because the database is nearly 100% full of the CABs, as the IAF members uploaded all the CABs they have accredited under the IAF MLA; so that part of the database is being used now to determine if the CAB is there.
Oxebridge then investigated only the ANAB accredited CBs (which Ramaley refers to as “CABs”) included in CertSearch at the time, and found that only six out of ANAB’s total pool of 81 CBs had been included. This disproved Ramaley’s claim that “100%” of CBs were included.
When challenged, an unnamed Quality Digest editor stood by the reporting, but provided a minor clarification in the comments section:
According to my CertSearch contact: “It is mandatory for accreditation bodies to upload details on the certification bodies they have accredited for management systems, so that is how we work out the total number. 99% of ABs have uploaded their data.”
However, specific to ANAB, here is what ANAB says:
“We have all of our CBs in CertSearch and we maintain the data. We have over 100 CBs in CertSearch and only 52 have activated their own CB, which is the disconnect [between the ANAB database and IAF CertSearch]. Only the CB’s who activate their CB will show to the public. So right now about 50% of ANAB’s accredited CBs have activated their account. While we have ‘requested’ them to do so and have done several outreaches, it is not required… ”
So, from a user perspective, you are correct. Although the IAF CertSearch database is about 99% complete with CBs, according to IAF, the only ones visible to the public (that come up in a search) are those that have been activated. Activation is voluntary and not all CBs have chosen to activate their CertSearch entry. If ANAB is indicative, as it could well be, then only a subset of that 99% is visible (50% of CBs activated, in the case of ANAB).
We have updated the article to clarify this point, thanks for pointing it out.
The clarification was also false, however, as there was no “mandatory” requirement for IAF members to upload data at all. This fact is now publicly known, since the IAF had spent much of 2021 and 2022 lobbying the industry to make CertSearch participation mandatory. The IAF voted last week to finalize this rule, and a public announcement is expected any day. However, in January of 2021, CertSearch participation was not mandatory, despite Quality Digest‘s reporting.
Quality Digest has a long history of publishing one-sided articles supporting the products and services of its advertisers and key industry bodies such as ISO. The editors once hired a lawyer to defend a frequent Quality Digest columnist who was found publishing white supremacist materials for over a decade, all under his own name.