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ISO 9001:2008 interpretation not the same per country? (Netherlands and France)

01mercy

Involved In Discussions
#1
Hi all,

I came across a strange event last year.

Our site in France was preparing for the ISO 9001:2008 certification.
To support the site they had make use of a ISO person who helped them with their compliance towards ISO 9001.

Due to some changes in the quality control registration systems used (we wanted to synchronise the registration systems over both sites to be able to report in the same way) we came in discussion with this ISO person.

Apart from the content of the discussion, this ISO person at a certain point claimed that the interpretation of the ISO 9001 standard is different between countries (in this case NL and FR).

I found this statement very strange since I thought the ISO standards were to standardize and that the interpretation would certainly not be country dependend.

What do you think? Is there any logical explanation why an ISO person would make such a statement?

Thanks!
 
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Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#2
Re: ISO 9001:2008 interpretation not the same per country?

I would save my concern for specific points that may differ based on perspective and business practices. Registrar requirements also differ somewhat between the regions. As an auditor I am tasked with setting aside my interpretation and reviewing my clients' systems with an open mind toward what conformance looks like. But if we reach a point where I do not agree there is conformance, we can discuss then.
 
R

Reg Morrison

#3
What do you think? Is there any logical explanation why an ISO person would make such a statement?
Maybe something got lost in translation? :confused: What you call an "ISO person" seems to be a consultant in American English.

To the best of my knowledge there are no country specific interpretations. It is much worse than that. If you put in a room 10 auditors and 10 consultants and ask them an interpretational query, chances are, we will end up with 25 different interpretations after much heated debate :argue:.

In the past, in Europe, we had differing product regulations, but since the EU came about, the European countries that are EU members should abide by the same directives.
 

Helmut Jilling

Auditor / Consultant
#4
Hi all,

I came across a strange event last year.

Our site in France was preparing for the ISO 9001:2008 certification.
To support the site they had make use of a ISO person who helped them with their compliance towards ISO 9001.

Due to some changes in the quality control registration systems used (we wanted to synchronise the registration systems over both sites to be able to report in the same way) we came in discussion with this ISO person.

Apart from the content of the discussion, this ISO person at a certain point claimed that the interpretation of the ISO 9001 standard is different between countries (in this case NL and FR).

I found this statement very strange since I thought the ISO standards were to standardize and that the interpretation would certainly not be country dependend.

What do you think? Is there any logical explanation why an ISO person would make such a statement?

Thanks!
There is no intent to have different interpretations. The intent is to standardize and simplify wherever practical. But, you can have differences, whether between countries or even between two people in the same city. It is the nature of the beast. So, do your best to minimize. A lot of companies will use a single registrar, and even try to use a small group of auditors, solely to reduce this variation. I don't think this "ISO person" was being very helpful.
 
M

Michael Drechsel

#5
I think the best solution is to work with a single register in all countries provided the rgister uses the same criteria worldwide and has a good calibration process in place.

Sometimes different interpretations are applied by the same CB in different countries due to additional specific requirements by the national accreditation bodies.

Differences, especially in the more regulated areas (e.g. environment and occupational health) may exist due to different national regulations and laws. The MS standards are very generic and many times refer to applicable laws and regulations.
 

qusys

Trusted Information Resource
#6
Hi all,

I came across a strange event last year.

Our site in France was preparing for the ISO 9001:2008 certification.
To support the site they had make use of a ISO person who helped them with their compliance towards ISO 9001.

Due to some changes in the quality control registration systems used (we wanted to synchronise the registration systems over both sites to be able to report in the same way) we came in discussion with this ISO person.

Apart from the content of the discussion, this ISO person at a certain point claimed that the interpretation of the ISO 9001 standard is different between countries (in this case NL and FR).

I found this statement very strange since I thought the ISO standards were to standardize and that the interpretation would certainly not be country dependend.

What do you think? Is there any logical explanation why an ISO person would make such a statement?

Thanks!
I think that that the standards should not be interpreted. Their requirements shall be met in different way but always assuring the conformity to them.
The standards do not state "how " to comply, because this is up to the organizations.
Overall legal/statutory requirement can make some difference as well as customer requirement.
 
R

Reg Morrison

#7

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
#8
Reg,

Agreed, the auditee makes the first interpretation. An auditee asking an auditor for an interpretation may imply a lack of confidence or competence.

Auditors determine the conformity and effectiveness of each auditee's interpretation of the audit criteria through the sampling and evaluation of evidence from their management system.

Auditors of any nationality are not meant to impose their interpretations.

Occasionally auditees completely misunderstand or fail to interpret a requirement and the auditor then has to seek an agreed interpretation that is right for the organization and its customers.

We are bound to see discrepancies and that is the way it is meant to be.

John
 
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