The Dutch accreditation body Raad voor Accreditatie (RvA) has failed to respond to a second complaint against its accreditation of the Israel office of Control Union for 11 months, even as more evidence of violations by the certification body is uncovered.
An original complaint was filed with RvA against Control Union’s Israel office in November of 2020, after Oxebridge found that the certification body’s Israeli office was continuing to market its accreditation after it had been suspended. RvA ignored the complaint entirely, violating its obligations under ISO 17011, and silently lifted the suspension of Control Union’s accreditation. Later, through informal channels, an RvA representative claimed the lifting of the suspension was already underway at the time of OXebridge’s complaint, so the matter was never processed. RvA never acknowledged it had violated ISO 17011, however.
In March of 2022, Oxebridge uncovered a trove of additional scope violations by the Israel office of Control Union, including multiple certificates issued for industries outside not listed on the scope of accreditation issued by RvA. OXebridge then filed an additional complaint with RvA, which was acknowledged by representative Y. Groenen on March 29, 2022.
As of this writing, eleven months later, RvA has not followed up with any actions, again violating ISO 17011 rules for processing formal complaints. Oxebridge has demanded an explanation from RvA.
The problems with Control Union’s Israel office did not stop with activities covered by RvA. In March of 2021, OXebridge filed another complaint related to out-of-scope certifications being issued by Control Union under its accreditation with the Sri Lanka Accreditation Board (SLAB.) SLAB closed the complaint in December of that year, but provided no details or evidence on what actions were taken.
RvA is a signatory member of the IAF regional body EA (European co-operation for Accreditation), which is supposed to ensure that accreditation bodies comply with ISO 17011. To date, EA has been copied on all communications, dating back to the first incident in 2020, but has refused to take independent action. Likewise, the Secretary of the IAF — Elva Nilsen — has refused to step in.
It is not clear how many questionable certificates have been issued by Control Union’s Israel office, but the practice is likely to continue as the oversight bodies have signaled they have no interest in performing their contractually required obligations.
Control Union instituted a “policy” that claims it can force those filing complaints to pay “all costs and expenses” related to a complaint. Oxebridge maintains this is yet another violation of ISO 17011, which prohibits discrimination against complainants, but neither EA nor IAF has forced Control Union to rescind the policy. It is not clear how Control Union would ever enforce it.