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Author Topic:   Multiple Accreditations
Marc Smith
Cheech Wizard

Posts: 4119
From:West Chester, OH, USA

posted 01 March 1999 12:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc Smith   Click Here to Email Marc Smith     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
--> From: Malcolm R Bell Subject: Re: Multiple
--> Accreditation Marks /Bell
--> The query about multiple accreditation marks highlights an
--> interesting situation.
--> National Accreditation Authorities (eg RAB in the USA, JASANZ in
--> Australia/New Zealand, UKAS in the UK and RvA in Holland) were set
--> up to accredit commercial Certification Bodies (Registrars) in their
--> respective regions. Accreditation Agencies are normally expected to
--> be not-for-profit bodies operating under some form of government
--> imprimatur.
--> In some countries they are government departments or
--> quasi-government agencies. Elsewhere they are independent bodies
--> operating in agreement with, and/or on behalf of the government. The
--> essence of an accreditation body is that it should be independent,
--> non-commercial and non-competitive so that its accreditation
--> decisions will be free from commercial influence.
--> National Accreditation Authorities were established to monitor and
--> control the work of commercial Certification Bodies (Registrars).
--> Certification Bodies are, in general, in business to make a profit
--> and they might, in theory, cut corners or lower standards in order
--> to acquire a bigger market share. Even in my own small "neck of the
--> woods" (New Zealand) it is well known that prospective clients often
--> search out the less demanding and/or cheaper Certification Bodies if
--> they are just after a fast-track route to an ISO 9000 certificate on
--> the wall. And there will always be somebody ready to oblige.
--> In theory (again) all Certification Bodies (Registrars) accredited
--> by a particular National Accreditation Authority should be operating
--> to the same standards. However, I have yet to come across any
--> Accreditation Authority that is willing to give a guarantee to this
--> effect.
--> Most Certification Bodies (Registrars) operate in just one country
--> and hold accreditation from that country's National Accreditation
--> Authority (NAA). This is fine until their ISO 9000 certified clients
--> want to export. The clients then need some assurance that their
--> accredited certifications will be recognised overseas.
--> Some Certification Bodies (Registrars) are multi-national companies
--> and they may hold multiple accreditations for their operations
--> around the world; one accreditation for each country in which they
--> operate. This imposes a major cost burden on these large
--> Certification Bodies. It's like having to get a new driving licence
--> for every town you drive through. It does, however, give them a
--> commercial advantage in selling their services to potential
--> exporters. A multi-national CB could, for example, certify a company
--> here in New Zealand and issue them with a JASANZ accredited
--> certification. For an extra fee (and there always seems to be an
--> extra fee!) the CB then arranges for its UK branch to issue the
--> client with a UKAS accredited certification. Or perhaps its European
--> branch could issue an RvA accredited certification.
--> In an ideal world all National Accreditation Authorities would
--> mutually recognise each other's accreditations and there would be
--> one international accreditation mark. An ISO 9000 certified company
--> would then pay one fee to one certification body for an accredited
--> certification that had world-wide recognition. Why don't we have
--> this situation? It would certainly be to the advantage of the
--> 280,000 companies that are currently ISO 9000 certified and which,
--> through their fees, pay for the entire international certification/
--> accreditation infrastructure. It might not, however, be to the
--> advantage of individual Accreditation Authorities which stand to
--> lose income.
--> Imagine a fictitious county, Isovia. It has a National Accreditation
--> Authority, The Isovian Accreditation Bureau (TIAB). There are twenty
--> commercial Certification Bodies (Registrars) operating in Isovia,
--> all of them accredited by TIAB. Five of the Certification Bodies are
--> multi-nationals and between them they have 75% of the Isovian ISO
--> 9000 certification business. The other fifteen CBs are local,
--> small-time operators. Typically the CBs will be paying TIAB a fixed
--> annual accreditation fee, a variable fee based on the number of
--> clients certified by each CB and the direct costs of their six
--> monthly assessments.
--> What happens if TIAB now enters into a mutual recognition agreement
--> with other National Accreditation Authorities? The multi-national
--> CBs will no longer need their TIAB accreditations. They will be able
--> to continue operating in Isovia using their, say, RAB accreditation
--> and will be able to issue their Isovian clients with an accredited
--> certification carrying the international mark. TIAB has now lost 75%
--> of its income.
--> The National Accreditation Authorities of the world have been moving
--> towards an international mutual recognition ageement at glacial
--> speed. To do otherwise would be akin to turkeys voting in favour of
--> Christmas.
--> Regards
--> Malcolm R Bell...

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