Does The Cove aid in conflict of interest?

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Admin
#1
Auditors can not provide consulting, advisory services to their certified clients since this would create a conflict of interest or threat to impartiality, as described by ISO 17021.

However, in blogs, virtual communities and discussion groups, such as The Cove, auditors come through and answer very specific questions, sometimes, providing elaborate interpretations to unique, company-specific scenarios.

As many posters participate anonymously, it is conceivable that an auditor could inadvertently (or not) provide consulting to a client. Not much one can do about it, but the loophole exists.
 
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bobdoering

Stop X-bar/R Madness!!
Trusted Information Resource
#2
Kind of like the old tree fell and nobody heard it bit. If they are not consciously consulting - especially (although not exclusively) for pay - to a client they are auditing, it sure seems like a very benign situation. Some folks might pace the floor at night over it, but to me it seems like there are bigger issues to fret.

It is kind of like that Windex thread....
 
P

Polly Pure Bread

#3
Of course because CB auditors has interest that might compromise their actions. An organization that wants to learn more or need personalized advice has 3 options:

1. Get a consultant
2. Attend seminars/trainings (I believed that CB is doing this)
3. Get info from the internet.

As for option 3, the forum contributors are not liable for any losses resulting from the use of advices. Besides, finding the specific information in some forums and blogs can be a big challenge. I am lucky I was able to find elsmar cove (Covers) that really provides valuable information and worth the time reading.
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#4
Good points Sid. Maybe that's why I only give AndyN's folks advice:lol:

Seriously........When I tell people about this place I let them know that I can't answer their questions with direct absolutes because of the potential for COI.
 

howste

Thaumaturge
Super Moderator
#5
I came across a checklist of mine once while I was auditing an internal audit process at a client. Is that a conflict of interest? I was auditing the results of the audit process, not the checklist itself...
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#6
Auditors can not provide consulting, advisory services to their certified clients since this would create a conflict of interest or threat to impartiality, as described by ISO 17021.

However, in blogs, virtual communities and discussion groups, such as The Cove, auditors come through and answer very specific questions, sometimes, providing elaborate interpretations to unique, company-specific scenarios.

As many posters participate anonymously, it is conceivable that an auditor could inadvertently (or not) provide consulting to a client. Not much one can do about it, but the loophole exists.
Personally, I've always believed that the whole registration scheme is based on conflict of interest, with registrars being paid by the auditees while ostensibly representing customer interests. I think this is one reason that customer (2nd party) audits continue apace, despite suppliers being registered. I understand that this is a controversial viewpoint, but when I've raised it in the past the ones most likely to argue against it are those associated with CBs.
 
T

Ted Schmitt

#7
If you don´t openly know that they are your client, then I don´t see that it can be COI....
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#8
It's not the simple offering of advice that creates a conflict, it's offering advice to the same organization you are being paid to assess as a representative of a registration body. Thus I do not see a conflict in an open space like this one, or else one might as well also not be permitted to write articles etc. while working as an auditor.
 
T

Ted Schmitt

#9
How can you not know?
Sidney, Randy and Andy (or any other CB auditors I don´t know of) don´t know where all the Covers work... if I where certified by either DNV, BSI or NQA would that mean that either one of the three could not answer any direct question made my me ?

COI is a tricky thing... The same way auditors sign confidentiality agreements they should also be "correct" and not openly give consulting to a person they know is a customer of their CB.
 
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