Official US TAG documents reveal that a technical review group listed as a “positive comment” that the FDIS of ISO 9001:2015 will be “the biggest boon for consultants ever.”

The US Technical Advisory Group to ISO TC 176, responsible for drafting US positions on the ISO 9000 family of standards, conducted an internal review of the Final Draft International Standard version of 9001:2015, through a working group called TG 9001. The group split into eight teams, each of which then provided comments on the draft. The results were collated by TG 9001 Facilitator Lorri Hunt into two documents which were then distributed internally to TAG members.

The “boon” remark appears in the comments for “Team 4” — the members of which were not given, unlike other Teams shown. It was listed under a bulleted list for “Pros”:

boon1

The “boon” remark is repeated in a second document, where it is listed as one of “Additional Positive Comments”:

boon2

The TG 9001 work appears to have occurred on August 21, 2015 at a Washington DC meeting of the TAG. Prior to the breakout session, Ms.Hunt presented a PowerPoint slide deck that reminded TAG members of the TC 176 Code of Conduct, which includes requirements to avoid personal or professional conflicts of interest when working on international standards:

We recognize that the development of International Standards is for the net benefit of the international community, over and above the interests of any individual or organization. We are committed to advancing International Standards within their agreed scope and we will not hinder their development.

A  second requirement demands the TAG “behave ethically”:

We will act in good faith and with due care and diligence. We will avoid collusive or anticompetitive behaviour.

The revelation that key representatives within the US TAG were actively boasting about how the FDIS will increase consulting business opportunities appears to violate both these principles, as it would be seen as both collusive and anticompetitive.

TC 176 Code of Conduct

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Lorri Hunt

Lorri Hunt

In both cases, Team 4 also included the “boon” remark under the list of negative comments, apparently to acknowledge that this would also be a detriment; however, given the TC 176 Code of Conduct rules, and the number of consultants on the TAG, the comment should never have been added as a positive remark at all. That Ms. Hunt did not see fit to counsel the TAG or edit the comment is worrisome, especially given that she operates her own ISO 9001 consulting firm, Lorri Hunt & Associates.

The official membership roster of  the US TAG shows that the group is comprised of at least one third consultants, although the number may be higher. Some of the TAG participants listed as “companies” (implying ISO 9001 user organizations) are also consulting firms. Oxebridge is investigating whether the re-classification of some members was done to intentionally distort the demographic makeup of the US TAG in order to give the false impression of intrusion by certification bodies and consultants.

Combined, the two problems increase already brewing speculation that the US TAG has intentionally endeavored to make the new ISO 9001:2015 complicated in order for its leadership and other members to later sell consulting services to decipher it. Along with Ms. Hunt, nearly every senior TC 176 and US TAG leader operates a private consulting firm, and many are writing books on the subject.  In February 2015, former TAG Chair Jack West and senior TAG official Charles Cianfrani had already published one of the first books on the ISO 9001 standard, basing it on the now defunct DIS draft.

The US TAG leadership, Ms. Hunt and ANSI have all been asked for comment.

The issue is being reported to TC 176 leadership and ANSI for investigation and possible action against the TAG.