Registrar Lawsuits? Troubles at ABS-QE - Auditor Qualifications

Marc

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Brain food:

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From: ISO Standards Discussion
Date: Tue, 30 May 2000 09:15:30 -0500
Subject: Comment Re: Troubles at ABS-QE /./Arbuckle/Kozenko

Don's post regarding the Registrar's treatment of ABS-QE in a certification situation, pinpoints the reason why I think it will take a "quality lawsuit" complete with the risk of actual loss (reputation AND dollars, to name a few losses) before the art and science of quality management will actually "grow teeth."

When Henry Ford unleashed his four-wheeler upon mankind, traffic laws concerning autos were all academic, based on assumptions and valued in accordance with each individual's perception of right or wrong, likely or unlikely, effective or ineffective....

Horses generally know enough not to run into each other; autos are smarter in other ways, but the history of the head-on collision started with the wheel and not the hoof. (Not counting jousting -- said that just to keep my credibility up ;o)

What ABS-QE's Registrar did was make a "test case" out of its own "slant" on auditor qualifications. Granted, it's not a "legal" test case, but it's GOOD when things like this happen:

1) because it shows those of us who sometimes get weary from all the quality "gumming" that sometimes goes on, that "teeth" are coming ;o) and

2) because it should (that doesn't mean it "does") send a loud and clear message to all businesses on either side of all the Registrar/Registered-Firm issues, that an actual legal precedent is inevitable.

For example, the (U.S.A.) federal government awards Billions of $$$'s worth of contracts each year, and the award process for those contracts has been shortened because (in part) 3rd party Certification of QA/QC issues is handled in the Proposal stage by someone other than the fed, and the fed elects to "rely" on the sound of the ISO9000-tooting horn when the fed decides to award ...

Certainly not in all cases, but what do you think Uncle Sam (a.k.a. "the fed") is going to do when he finds out all that "Proposal-toot" about quality is a little out of tune with reality (or customer-perceived reality, at least) and that the fed should not have relied upon the tooting melodies quite so much???

Another way to put it is this: The fed says:

(1) "Mr. Prime Contractor -- It probably wasn't your greatest idea, to try to fool Uncle Sam in your Proposal with all this tooting about ISO9000 because some of us still remember what MIQ-Q-9858A meant ..." (and the FAR hasn't changed that much if you really know how to read it)

and,

(2) "Mr. Registrar, you certified Mr. Prime Contractor to ISO9001:1994, surveilled, then certified Mr. Prime Contractor to ISO9001:2000, all of which is supposed to have the meaning that Mr. Prime Contractor stated in its Proposal, upon which Uncle Sam relied when making the (ummm, say Multi-Billion-dollar) award -- what an interesting third-party involvement you've provided..."

A massive contract fraud action, in Uncle Sam's own federal court system, naming a Prime Contractor AND its Registrar as co-defendants -- now that would be a Quality Lawsuit if there ever was one (oxymorons aside) -- a true quality "head on collision" as it were... and it will change the "quality law" landscape about as much as that first red-light / green-light traffic signal changed the transportation-law 'scape.

Not only can I hardly wait to chew, but maybe something like this would take all the headlines off that poor six year old from Miami.

David M. Kozenko
 
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Marc

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The first post above is quite old now mind you, but I was wondering... Has anyone heard of any other 'Registrar lawsuits'?
 
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