Certification Bodies (CBs) are currently the focus of dissatisfaction in some LinkedIn groups.Many of the comments express disappointment (to put it mildly) at what they consider is the lack of thorough audits by some assessors.
It’s worth noting that there is a rigorous review of reports submitted by assessors to their CBs and onward to the relevant Standards Board. It is also worth noting that some Standards Boards are returning reports to CBs as unacceptable where the Boards consider that nonconformances are closed out with insufficient root cause analysis.
I suggest that this threat alone would compel any assessor to govern himself or herself accordingly during assessment and when preparing the recommendation report. Consider the embarrassment of having to go back to the client with a rejected report on these grounds, not to mention the expense incurred from extra time on site and lost time to the client. Imagine the chagrin and disappointment where a client has to submit to more investigation when they have just finished popping the champagne corks.
As a quality management consultant of many years experience I have certainly had my share of what I considered to be unacceptably inattentive certification assessment. I recall one assessor from a well-known prestigious CB who sat in the MDs office for the entire assessment and even issued a favourable report. I complained to the CB through the formal process and was clear where I believed the assessor had failed my client.
I have CBs on file with which I have worked and know they will be rigorous and fair. From three of these, I discuss the terms with my client and we choose one which most closely meets our requirements:such as knowledge of the product or service, fees, preassessment visits, time needed on site.
We naturally expect that all the hard work we have done for months before the assessment will be assessed rigorously. Beyond a careful choice of CB, however, we have to rely on the integrity of the CB, their certified assessors and the reporting process to the Standards Boards.