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Choosing a Registrar - Registrars That "Do It All"

Stijloor

Staff member
Super Moderator
#81
I know. That is why I said he WAS being naive. But are we naive to think that these shady practices of being written up one day for ineffective internal audits, and receiving an unsolicited call the next day for a course on effective internal audits are no longer happening?

Many auditors also offer consulting work. While some are stupid to a point of blatant conflict of interest, such as giving two business cards away, one as the auditor and one as a consultant, others are more subtle. They write up a company and tell another friendly consultant that company needs help. Next week, the friend returns the favor. Nobody is policing that. If people like John does not voice such concerns, nobody talks about it.
Has this been your personal experience? Really? I believe that most auditors are very ethical people who do the right thing. I also believe that what you stated is currently more an exception rather then the rule.

Stijloor.
 

Helmut Jilling

Auditor / Consultant
#82
I know. That is why I said he WAS being naive. But are we naive to think that these shady practices of being written up one day for ineffective internal audits, and receiving an unsolicited call the next day for a course on effective internal audits are no longer happening?

Many auditors also offer consulting work. While some are stupid to a point of blatant conflict of interest, such as giving two business cards away, one as the auditor and one as a consultant, others are more subtle. They write up a company and tell another friendly consultant that company needs help. Next week, the friend returns the favor. Nobody is policing that. If people like John does not voice such concerns, nobody talks about it.

There are a lot of things that are unethical, but there are also a lot of things that are ethical and proper. I think it hinges on whether you are serving the client, or focused on your own needs or gains. I do work for clients, they come to public trainings sometimes, They can access tips or tools and benchmarks. But, the focus has to be serving the client, not what can I get out of them. And, that is where the ethics are very important.
 
B

Boingo-boingo

#83
I believe that most auditors are very ethical people who do the right thing. I also believe that what you stated is currently more an exception rather then the rule.
I would agree with you that, probably, such practice is not done by the majority of auditors who also consult, but neither one of us could tell how rampant this breach of ethics really is. many auditors who also consult (or consultants who also audit) network a lot and many practice this "scratch my back and I will scratch yours" approach. And nobody polices it. It would be interesting to find out if any Cover has ever been subjected to this. Being written up one day and getting a cold call from someone offering to assist with that "type of problem" the next day.
 

Helmut Jilling

Auditor / Consultant
#84
I would agree with you that, probably, such practice is not done by the majority of auditors who also consult, but neither one of us could tell how rampant this breach of ethics really is. many auditors who also consult (or consultants who also audit) network a lot and many practice this "scratch my back and I will scratch yours" approach. And nobody polices it. It would be interesting to find out if any Cover has ever been subjected to this. Being written up one day and getting a cold call from someone offering to assist with that "type of problem" the next day.

You make a valid point. However, let's be clear, "offering" teachingor consulting services is still much different than an inference that they really must consider hiring such a service...
 

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
#85
I would agree with you that, probably, such practice is not done by the majority of auditors who also consult, but neither one of us could tell how rampant this breach of ethics really is. many auditors who also consult (or consultants who also audit) network a lot and many practice this "scratch my back and I will scratch yours" approach. And nobody polices it. It would be interesting to find out if any Cover has ever been subjected to this. Being written up one day and getting a cold call from someone offering to assist with that "type of problem" the next day.
All,

Registrars (and their auditors) that provide advice/training so the systems they certify depend to some extent on them for that conformity are undermining their independence and hence the value of their certificate.

Of course, any consultant that receives a kick-back of any kind for recommending a registrar to their client has an improper relationship with that registrar in the minds of their clients. The management systems consultant should instead be assisting their client with development of the criteria for selecting the registrar.

Registrar selection criteria may include:

  1. Employs certified lead auditors (of top management calibre) who would not think also of selling their consulting or training services;
  2. Fully accredited (as a registrar and for that industry);
  3. Independent registrar that adds value with audits against approved service specifications (including well-planned investigations and well-crafted nonconformity statements to fulfill agreed audit objectives);
  4. Independent registrar that refuses to provide advice (or advisory devices such as OFI's) thereby not concealing system weaknesses;
  5. Independent registrar that protects the intellectual property of past and current clients (their auditors would not even think of saying what they have seen work elsewhere - another advisory device); and
  6. Respected by our customers (well known and well thought of because the registrar explains the value of their certificates in meaningful terms to the customers of their clientele).

Do customers want the certificate more than they want a management system free of significant weaknesses? If so they may settle for just 1 or 2 of these six registrar selection criteria.:rolleyes:

John
 
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R

RegistrarGirl

#87
Most interesting discussion, thank you for the different points of view. The registrar that I work for has found that our large, multi-national customers expect (demand) that best practices (without naming names) and OFI's are shared with them, so that they can adapt and improve their knowledge base and systems accordingly. Auditors get to see a wide variety of systems and practices, so why shouldn't a "partner approach" be allowed, as long as they do not cross the line into consulting. Am I correct that, consulting is finding the problems and telling them how to fix it and that auditing is telling them what is nonconforming and conforming, but not how ot fix it? Or is that too simplistic? Or is it like everything else in life, one bad apple will spoil it for everyone anyway, so outlaw it right from the get go? I am not an auditor and haven't been out there in the trenches...I'm just asking for opinions and reasons. Thank you!
 

Stijloor

Staff member
Super Moderator
#88
Most interesting discussion, thank you for the different points of view. The registrar that I work for has found that our large, multi-national customers expect (demand) that best practices (without naming names) and OFI's are shared with them, so that they can adapt and improve their knowledge base and systems accordingly. Auditors get to see a wide variety of systems and practices, so why shouldn't a "partner approach" be allowed, as long as they do not cross the line into consulting. Am I correct that, consulting is finding the problems and telling them how to fix it and that auditing is telling them what is nonconforming and conforming, but not how ot fix it? Or is that too simplistic? Or is it like everything else in life, one bad apple will spoil it for everyone anyway, so outlaw it right from the get go? I am not an auditor and haven't been out there in the trenches...I'm just asking for opinions and reasons. Thank you!
For starters, obtain ISO 17021 and look at the following clauses:
  • 4.2 Impartiality
  • 5.2 Management of Impartiality
That may clarify....

Stijloor.
 

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
#89
Most interesting discussion, thank you for the different points of view. The registrar that I work for has found that our large, multi-national customers expect (demand) that best practices (without naming names) and OFI's are shared with them, so that they can adapt and improve their knowledge base and systems accordingly. Auditors get to see a wide variety of systems and practices, so why shouldn't a "partner approach" be allowed, as long as they do not cross the line into consulting. Am I correct that, consulting is finding the problems and telling them how to fix it and that auditing is telling them what is nonconforming and conforming, but not how ot fix it? Or is that too simplistic? Or is it like everything else in life, one bad apple will spoil it for everyone anyway, so outlaw it right from the get go? I am not an auditor and haven't been out there in the trenches...I'm just asking for opinions and reasons. Thank you!
RegistrarGirl

Because an auditor's sharing of the intellectual property of his or her other auditee's system and its processes contravenes clause 7.5.4 of ISO 9001:2008 quite apart from the ethics.

Such sharing of "what I have seen work elsewhere" may also cause some auditees not to trust auditors with their so-called "best practices".

Other auditees however do expect their auditors to act as a conduit of confidential information about their competitors' processes.

If the auditor responds out of a desire to help, these shortcut "answers" also weaken the system's ability to continually improve performance.

No system should depend on its auditor for its performance.

Instead the auditor is paid to ask questions that result in the auditee strengthening their system's ability to solve problems (instead of stealing "solutions") and design processes to make its customers more successful (instead mimicking its competitors).

John
"stroke the ego of an auditor and you'll get a consultant"
 
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#90
RegistrarGirl

Because an auditor's sharing of the intellectual property of his or her other auditee's system and its processes contravenes clause 7.5.4 of ISO 9001:2008 quite apart from the ethics.

Such sharing of "what I have seen work elsewhere" may also cause some auditees not to trust auditors with their so-called "best practices".

Other auditees however do expect their auditors to act as a conduit of confidential information about their competitors' processes.

If the auditor responds out of a desire to help, these shortcut "answers" also weaken the system's ability to continually improve performance.

No system should depend on its auditor for its peformance.

Instead the auditor is paid to ask questions that result in the auditee strengthening their system's ability to solve problems (instead of stealing "solutions") and design processes to make its customers more successful (instead mimicking its competitors).

John
"stroke the ego of an auditor and you'll get a consultant"
Very well put John!

I've never quite understood (the validity of) the idea that a CB auditor would be asked for (or indeed volunteer) information regarding practices they'd seen in other places. The contextual information regarding a tip/tool/technique etc. -which may be very significant to its success - is often lost and if they spend a lot of time explaining, then IMHO that's consulting!

I'm not saying improvements cannot be found by CB auditors - indeed many of my colleagues do this - however, if the idea becomes to expect them to 'share' what they've seen, or becomes a significant input to identifying improvements, then we are in danger of undermining the whole certification process. It's bizarreI know, but would a business actively seek input for product improvements from the QC folks in other companies? I don't think so....!
 
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