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IAF Silently Dropped Complaint Against UKAS/BSI
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Christopher Paris
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9 April, 2019 - 7:45 AM
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Back in March of 2018, I reported that BSI had issued a certificate to ISO 45001, the new occupational safety and health standard, within minutes of the standard’s release. “That should be impossible, of course, under normal international accreditation rules,” I wrote. The certificate issued by BSI was unaccredited, which is weird, since BSI is accredited for that standard. Official AF Resolution 2015-14 prohibits a CB from accredited certificates while simultaneously issuing un-accredited certificates.

Digging further, I found that UKAS ruled to override the IAF rule based on undocumented, unverifiable “views of various stakeholders. UKAS said thus:

We have as you may be aware also stated that based on our understanding of the IAF Resolution on unaccredited certificates, advised that no unaccredited certificates to ISO 45001 may be issued.  However, following detailed consideration of the views of various stakeholders and discussions at recent forums and events it has been agreed that UKAS accredited bodies may issue unaccredited certificates to ISO 45001. A technical bulletin to this effect will be placed on our website today and a copy sent to all UKAS accredited certification bodies.

So while BSI admits that IAF says BSI may not issue unaccredited certificates to ISO 45001 (first sentence of quote above), they interpreted that as UKAS accredited bodies may issue unaccredited certificates to ISO 45001 (second sentence of quote above.)

So BSI basically told the world that while they are an IAF signatory and bound by the multilateral agreements, they are not bound by the IAF’s rulings nor the multilateral agreements. But they will keep putting the IAF logo on their certs anyway.

I filed a complaint with IAF’s Elva Nilsen back on March 24th of 2018, now over a year ago, and she promised an investigation while throwing BSI the usual cover, giving permission for CBs to issue certs to even draft standards (which wasn’t part of the issue at hand, but whatever):

IAF has initiated an investigation on the claim you have made. This has commenced with providing UKAS a request to respond to the claim. If we have any concern we will refer this complaint the the EA Regional Body for further investigation.

While ignoring an IAF resolution is a cause for concern the issuing of a certificate shortly after publication is not a concern in itself. ISO standards are available as FDIS (Final Draft international Standard for typically 6 to 12 months before publication.

Nilsen, reportedly furious at Oxebridge’s reporting of her annual income and IAF’s tax filings, then went silent. She’s adopted a bunker mentality, whereby she is stripping references to her role in IAF, and refusing to reply to Oxebridge complaints now.  Apparently, Nilsen believes if she ignores stuff, they don’t exist; two-year-olds adopt this same practice when they hide under the covers to avoid the monster in their closet.

So now it’s a year later, and IAF has not granted any follow-up and apparently never processed the complaint at all.

Which is a new problem for IAF. As an influential party for US government contracts and legislation, IAF cannot arbitrarily decide to ignore industry stakeholders it doesn’t like. It can’t allow CBs like BSI to overrule their policies at will, while falsely marketing the value of accreditation under IAF’s banner. And it has to follow its own rules on processing complaints, and IAF can’t just ignore those.

But, of course, that’s exactly what IAF is doing.

Short of courtrooms, the IAF represents the last and highest authority when trying to file complaints in the ISO certification scheme. When that process is corrupted, the entire scheme becomes meaningless.

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