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I have heard from many quarters of the industry, cries of dissatisfaction with the performance of certification bodies. In some cases, companies have been aware of their own management-system shortfalls but were surprised when the certification bodies didn’t pick these up. It’s a poor show. It undermines both the certification process and industry confidence in the bodies themselves.

If I can take centre stage on the matter, I would question the disparity between the perceived role of the certification bodies and their actual role. Do you believe that they exist to provide a service to organisations seeking certification? And that, that service is one to trouble shoot every element of the organisation’s management practices and infrastructure?

Accreditation is a formal, third party recognition of competence to perform specific tasks. UKAS, the United Kingdom Accreditation Service responsible for assessing UK accreditation bodies, notes that: “Usually the reason for getting something independently evaluated is to confirm it meets specific requirements in order to reduce risks. Obvious examples are product failure, health risks, company reputation or to meet legal or customer requirements. Anything or anyone can be evaluated – products, equipment, people, management systems or organisations.”

As a consequence, the accreditation body is likely to only assess the specific area assigned to it rather than provide a holistic service to the organisation seeking certification.

The further questions are then: should the bodies take a holistic approach? and, does the fact that they aren’t, harm the perception and integrity of having management systems certified in the first place?

I’m keen to hear your views, catch me on Twitter @TonieDavey