An analysis of the current roster of members to the US Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to ISO TC 176 responsible for developing the ISO 9000 family of standards, shows consistent mis-categorization of member affiliations. The end result is a demographic spread that incorrectly gives the impression of greater influence by ISO 9001 end users, and less influence by consultants and registrars.

Oxebridge has conducted a line-by-line correction of the data, verifying individuals’ credentials and employment on LinkedIn and other sources, and determined that 20% of the consultants in membership were listed improperly as “individual” or “company” (user). These included QMS management system consultancies such as Gladhill Associates, Quality Support International and EMERGO Group. In a few cases, the consultancies operated by key TAG leaders were not listed as such, including Jack West’s Silver Fox Advisors and Charles Cianfrani’s Green Lane Quality Management Services; instead, West and Cianfrani were listed as “individuals.” West and Cianfrani have already published the first book on ISO 9001:2015, published during the DIS release of that standard, and are expected to have generated the most personal profit from their roles in the TAG leadership, spanning over two decades.

The current listing falsely categorizes some certification bodies and accreditation bodies as users of ISO 9001, which they are not. SRI, NQA-USA, UL-DQS, SGS, DEKRA and Platinum Registrations were all categorized incorrectly as users or individuals. The corrected data produced by Oxebridge lists both under the category of “registrar,” showing they occupy 7% of US TAG seats.

ASQ members were recalculated as “consultants” since ASQ generates direct revenue from the sale of training and other related services, and is not a user of ISO 9001. The US TAG treats ASQ — which provides administrative support to the TAG — as a non-profit, giving the false impression that ASQ does not have a revenue stake in ISO 9001.

In total, Oxebridge found 70 out of 234 members were incorrectly listed, or nearly 30%. One member was not calculated, because his credentials could not be verified.

The charts below represent the corrected data (at left) in comparison with the original data (right):

The corrected data shows a significant increase in the actual influence of non-users; as a combined total, registrars and consultants comprise 47% of the total seats in the TAG. Users comprise 46%, with small numbers of individuals, government representatives and non-profit organizations.

The categories are defined in US TAG procedures, which were ratified by ANSI, and do allow for listing those that would be normally considered consultants as “individuals” if they are “retirees.” Oxebridge maintains that in the cases of West, Cianfrani and others, this is disingenuous and distorts a proper analysis. The purpose of the demographic breakdown is to show that users have a voice in the development process, and that it is not dominated by registrars, consultants or others with a conflict of interest; any improper categorization violates this core principle.

US TAG, ANSI and ISO rules do require that there be no “dominance” by any single stakeholder group, but the US TAG procedures dilute the requirement significantly:

The requirement implicit in the phrase “without dominance by any single interest” normally will be satisfied if a reasonable balance among interests can be achieved. Unless it is claimed by a directly and materially affected person that a single interest dominated the standards activity, to the exclusion of fair and equitable consideration of other viewpoints, no test for dominance is required.

The rules do not address actions to take if the data is found to be incorrect or falsified.

Oxebridge has argued for over a decade that ISO 9001 can be improved only by greater participation by end users, with greater restrictions of influence placed on consultants and registrars.

Complaints have been filed with ANSI and TC 176’s Secretariat asking for an examination of the practices by the US TAG leadership. TC 176 has declined to take action, indicating it is ANSI’s responsibility, something Oxebridge has contested. ANSI has not, to date, responded. Typically, ISO, ANSI and the US TAG ignore complaints filed by Oxebridge, refusing to acknowledge its status as a stakeholder entirely.




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Why we report on these topics

Since 2000, Oxebridge has worked to improve ISO and related certification schemes by identifying problems and then proposing solutions. We report on issues affecting standards users because so few other news outlets do. Our belief is that in order to fix the problems in these schemes, we must first understand the nature and breadth of those problems. Our reporting aims to do just that. Elsewhere on the Oxebridge site you will find White Papers and other articles proposing ideas to correct these problems.


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