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IAF Mandatory Document #23 - Control of CB Franchisees and Agents

Sidney Vianna

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#1
For those of us involved in the system certification business, we know that there is very little limits to some CB business models and their creativity in expanding their "operations".

Some CB's have been caught in major fiascos after stakeholders uncovered hundreds of undeserving certificates being issued, without the proper checks, balances and controls. When confronted by accreditation auditors on the failures, the response has always been: there is nothing in 17021, IAF MD's etc... that prohibit us from being creative in our business models...

Some CB's operate franchises, non-exclusive sales agents, etc...which clearly introduce risks to the credibility of system certificates issued around the World.

The IAF has recently released Mandatory Document #23: Control of Entities Operating on Behalf of Accredited Management Systems Certification Bodies as an attempt to better monitor such issues.

Rules are as good as the policing put in place to monitor conformance to such rules. Time will tell if this is effective or not.
 

Le Chiffre

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#2
This document relates to entities, performing and/or managing management system certification activities, on behalf of certification bodies (CBs) holding accreditation, which are not wholly or partly owned or employed by the CB. The entities may or may not be located in the same country as the CB head office and may be a representative, agency, franchisee or sales office of the CB or any entity which has a contractual relationship with the CB for performing certification activities.
This is interesting, but how common is it for a CB to have such entities? Is this more common outside of North America?
 

Sidney Vianna

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#3
As far as I heard, it became “common practice” (for SOME CB's) in many countries in Indo-Asia. And, I am sure it is probably already spreading in Africa, the next frontier for system certification scams.

The simple fact this document exists confirms the problem is significant enough to deserve a counteract. Since accreditation of management system certifiers was originally developed, it has been a race between “creativity” by CB's and loophole-closure (by AB's) via prescriptive requirements and documents, such as this one, but we know that we've reached a new low when an IAF document has to suggest you run (criminal) background checks on potential business partners.
 
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Sidney Vianna

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#4
This is interesting, but how common is it for a CB to have such entities? Is this more common outside of North America?
In this 2016 Market Surveillance Report on the value of ISO 9001 in 14 different countries, the following comment is made:

The market surveillance visits also highlighted the relatively poor performance of organizations that had been certified by local franchisees of foreign certification bodies, when compared with local certification bodies or branch offices of international certification bodies, and an IAF Task Force is currently studying ways to address this problem.
 
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